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HOW TO OPEN OYSTERS                                                                                                                   

  

When opening oysters, use a knife especially designed for this purpose. The handle is solid and the blade is thick and made of stainless steel so that it will not give a metallic taste to the oyster.

1Hold the oyster in your left hand with the cup-shaped part downwards, the pointed hinge end nearest to you (If you are left-handed hold the oyster in your right hand with the pointed hinge further from you). Put your thumb on top of the blade, 1cm from the pike.

2Slip your knife into the joint between the lid and the cup at about 2/3rds of the oyster length from the pointed hinge. You may have to twist it a little to get access.

3Once your knife blade is in, slide it down towards the hinge to cut the muscle keeping the 2 parts of the shell closed.Twist the blade, lift the top shell and cut the muscle. 

4 Lift the lid by turning the knife and hold it open with your thumb.

5.   Gently remove the meat from the lid with your knife

6.    Remove the lid

About Oysters

SOME FACTS

Millions of people around the world love oysters and know them by their taste and appearance at the dinner table, or by the beautiful pearls they sometimes produce for the pleasure of women. But too few people know that:

 

  • Oysters are one of the most nutritionally well balanced of foods, containing protein, carbohydrates and lipids. They are also an excellent source of vitamins A, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), C (ascorbic acid) and D (calciferol). Four or five medium size oysters supply the recommended daily allowance of iron, copper, iodine, magnesium, calcium, manganese and phosphorus.

  • Oysters may live up to 20 years. They grow from 1 to 2 inches every year, depending on water temperature and food supply.

  • Oysters often change their sex during their lives, usually starting as males and ending as females. A female oyster can produce over a 100 million eggs during one breeding season but only a few of them will live to see adulthood.

  • Oysters are classified in the phylum Mollusca, class Pelecypoda or Bivalvia, order Filibranchia, family Ostreidae. There are over 400 species of oysters known to men. But the most common and consumed ones are the Crassostrea gigas in Europe, the Crassostrea Virginica in North America, the Crassostrea margaritacea in Southern Africa and the Ostrea sinuata or luteria in New Zealand. 

  • The taste of an oyster does not depend on the specie it belongs to. It is rather a reflection of the waters it comes from. How an oyster tastes can be described in many ways: briny, sweet, salty, buttery, nutty…

  • There is proof that oysters have been around for about 15 million years. Records dating back to ancient Roman times prove that Romans already ate oysters.

  • The myth about oysters saying that one should never eat them in months that do not have an "r" in their name is simply not true. Oysters can be eaten any time except during their breeding season which varies from place to place.  The myth began many years ago when transport wasn’t fast and refrigeration not constant. Summer months (month without "r's") would then be a risky time to eat oysters that hadn't been kept chilled or had been out of water for too long. But nowadays the combination of fast transport services with SEALIFE OysterBars makes it possible to enjoy fresh live oysters from all over the world all year long.

  • Oysters are soft-bodied animals that have two hard, protective shells (a bivalve). These two hard, rough-textured shells are attached by a muscular hinge (the adductor muscles) at the narrow end. The shell is generated by the mantle, a thin  layer of tissue separating the shell from the soft body. When an oyster is threatened, it closes its shells, using the very strong adductor muscle. Oysters draw in water through their gills, and extract oxygen and filter out floating algae (which they use for food). They can filter over 200 liters (50 US gallons) of water per day! They breathe like a fish, using their gills and have a heart with three chambers and colorless blood. 

  • When a minuscule piece of foreign material gets trapped inside the oyster's shell, the oyster responds to the irritation by producing nacre, a combination of calcium and protein. After a while the layers of nacre become what is known as a pearl. Although the white pearl is the most common, pearls have also been found in colors from yellow to pink to black.

WINES AND OYSTERS

  

  • Dry wines, for their mineral aroma and edge, are recommended with oysters.

  • With fresh oysters served plain the best wine is a dry, brisk wine (Muscadet, pic-poul-de-pinet, Riesling or Chablis) which offer a nice bite, replacing the over-used lemon.

  • Fresh oysters served plain or in canapés also bring out the fruitiness of young brut champagnes. For special occasions, a Champagne Brut Blanc de blancs is an excellent choice.

  • If oysters are served hot, in butter, they require a wine that is both tart and mellow: great Graves, Spanish Rìas Baixas or young Californian Sauvignons.

  • A Sancerre or Chablis is the perfect accompaniment for grilled oysters.

  • Oysters served in cream sauce can be accompanied by a dry, smooth, more assertive wine with low acidity (an Alsatian Grey Pinot or Italian Chardonnay). 

  • A dry Muscat brings out the flavour of Oysters Rockefeller.

BEERS AND OYSTERS

    

  • Lagers in general are an excellent choice. They are refreshing with a marked bitterness and good acidity. They are perfect as an aperitif, with plain oysters.

Ales and amber ales are also an excellent choice because they have a mineral taste and a bitterness that goes well with oysters. Amber ales are more strongly flavoured and full-bodied than lagers and go better best with more highly flavoured oyster dishes.