Frequently Asked Questions

How long will the oysters last?

It is best to consume them as soon as you can.

However, if you store them well, they can last for 7 days (and more).

How to store oysters?

Store oysters with their curved shell down on a plate/bowl in the fridge with a wet tea towel or newspaper on top of them. Stored like this the oyster can survive longer.

If upon removal from the fridge the oyster is gaping and does not close after a slight tap DO NOT EAT.

Oysters and other shellfish are live and if they continue to gape after tapping DO NOT EAT. If they close they are still alive and edible.

How to open an oyster?

Place the oyster cup side down with the point (hinge) facing right if right-handed and left if left-handed. Hold the oyster in place putting some downward pressure on it while you bring the knife hand to the hinge. Insert the tip of the knife into the hinge and gently apply an inward force at a 45-degree angle until the knife is in between the shells but only 5 mm or so. If it is in, you should be able to take your and away and the knife will be suspended like a sword in a stone. The next action is the gently slice the blade sideways bringing the blade towards you whilst scooping up at the same time (imagine you’re scooping some ice cream).

The slide ‘n’ scoop motion will pop the top shell off the hinge. The next job is to gently pull that top shell off by running the blade across the mother of pearl underside of the top shell and cutting the adductor muscle. The oyster uses the adductor muscle to open and close its shell.

Now you have your oyster. You can plate up with the oyster’s adductor muscle still attached to the cupped shell (French style) or you can cut it free ready to go- it is up to you.

The two types of UK oyster

There are two main types of oyster in the UK, the native and the Pacific or rock oyster. Their appearances are distinctive. You’ll see the rock oyster with its deep teardrop shell most often. Natives are brown in colour, shallower and round. They are also much rarer and seasonal.

Most of our natives perished due to overfishing and a lack of oystermen during and after the wars. Stocks were replenished with oysters indigenous to the Pacific ocean, hence the name, which can be eaten all year round.

‘R’ in the month

The traditional warning about not eating oysters if there’s no ‘R’ in the month’s name – ruling out the summer – comes from the spawning time of the season, which leaves the oyster creamy. This means native oysters are not available May-August