There’s no shortage of reasons to add oysters to your diet and to enjoy fresh oysters at your favorite seafood restaurant. Firstly, they’re delicious. They can be enjoyed raw on the half shell, grilled, steamed, or fried, and they’re a beautiful addition to tons of different dishes. There are also some surprising and lesser known facts to keep in mind next time you’re shucking an oyster.
Oysters are extremely nutritious
Are oysters good for you? Absolutely! Raw oysters are packed full of lesser-known health benefits. They’re low in calories and fats and they are high in protein, beneficial antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Oysters are also incredibly high in zinc, and are often considered to be the world’s most zinc-rich food. Six medium-sized oysters provide 291% of the recommended daily value of zinc.
Zinc is hugely important for the body’s immune system and our bodies don’t naturally create it so we must rely on external sources. Zinc is used by every cell in the body and is crucial for developing cells, healing wounds, aiding in the production of testosterone, and much more.
Not all oysters contain pearls
Edible oysters are not the species that grows pearls. There are many different types of oysters, and the pearl-bearing oysters are more closely related to clams or mussels, though it doesn’t hurt to double check your oysters after you shuck them, just in case!
There are worthwhile ways to check oyster quality
Fresh oysters are worlds away from those that are less fresh, and it pays to seek out the freshest, highest quality oysters you can find. Here are a few tips for sourcing the freshest oysters:
- Ask your server or supplier when the oysters were harvested— Every oyster you buy from a restaurant or market was given a tag when it was harvested. If you know how to read an oyster tag you can find out who packed and shipped it, the date it was harvested, and even the harvest location.
- Avoid oysters that stick to their shells— Fresh oysters should be well-hydrated from the seawater, and sticking to the shell is a sign that it has been out of water for longer.
- Never keep your oysters in freshwater— Oysters that are born in the sea are best kept out of fresh or tap water. Not only will tap water kill them, it will also take away their beautiful, fresh, oceanic taste.
Oyster farming has a deep, rich human history
Oyster farming goes back as far as the Romans and 95BC, when Roman entrepreneur Sergius Orata is said to have established artificial oyster beds near his palace in Naples. Oysters were a delicacy of the first rank for the Romans, and the shells were ground into skin ointments, roads, and for bathing.
Oyster reefs can act as natural storm protection
Oyster reefs can provide an effective barrier to storm waves, and can protect underwater habitats and waterfront communities from the potentially damaging impacts of floods and tides. Well-established beds from healthy oyster reefs help stabilize the bottom, and can absorb as much as 76 to 93 percent of wave energy. This resilience against wave impact reduces erosion, flooding, and property damage from coastal storms.
The cold winter days are behind us and the long summer days are coming. It’s the perfect time to treat yourself to some fresh oysters and to flaunt your oyster knowledge at your favorite restaurant in Bozeman. Get your family or close friends together and come and enjoy some fresh Bozeman oysters and a glass of wine with us at Feast. Your table is waiting for you!