Oyster (Ostrea)

Food and Recipe — By on February 1, 2009 11:50 AM


Oysters are filter feeders.  They draw plankton over the gills and eventually into the mouth with the help of little hairs called cilia.  Feeding is greatest when the water temperature is above 50 degrees F.  An oyster can filter up to five liters of water per hour.  They are an amazing filtration system for bays, lakes or wherever you may find them feeding, helping to create much improved water quality.  When oysters thrived in the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland they could clean the entire area of water in three days!

The oyster has one heart, two kidneys and clear blood!   They breathe much like fish by using gills and they have an extremely strong adductor muscle that holds their shell closed for protection.  It is impossible to determine a male from a female oyster by looking at it and they can change their sex one or more times during their lifetime!  How convenient. 
When oysters are first born they are male.  They release sperm into the water as they grow for the first year until maturity.  The next few years they release eggs, as a female.  Female oysters can produce up to 100 million eggs annually.
A group of oysters are common called a bed.
Remember that wives tale that eating an oyster can get you in the mood for love?  Well there is some truth to that. 
As we have found from reading Dr. Russo’s article this issue on ZINC, oysters are the greatest source for zinc, which is one of the minerals required for the production of testosterone.
Oysters have a much longer shelf life than most shellfish, two weeks, but they should, like all fish, be consumed immediately after purchasing.  For maximm shelf life oysters should be stored in the fridge, not frozen -out of water- and in 100% humidity! 
Most people believe you should only eat oysters in the months that have a “R” in them.  This is true because in the months with out an “R” are the months that oysters breed and therefore dont have great nutritional value and dont taste as good.  It is also mch more difficult to keep an oyster alive on the plate in the months without an “R”.  And as soon as an oyster dies it immediately becomes poisonous.

Creole Oyster Stew 


  • 6 ounces chopped bacon
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 quart oysters, picked over for shells, liquid drained and reserved
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Hot sliced French bread, accompaniment


In a large pot, cook the bacon until crisp and the fat is rendered, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan.

To the fat remaining in the pan, add the butter and melt over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook gently, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the green onions, garlic, salt, white pepper, cayenne, and thyme and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring, to make a light roux, about 3 minutes.

Add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Add the reserved oyster liquor and milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid thickens, about 4 minutes. Add the oysters and parsley and simmer until the oysters start to curl, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the cream and reserved bacon and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Serve hot with French bread

If you have any great recipes with your favorite foods, please send them to me and I will include them in this section of an upcoming issue.  Or if you have any suggestions about what veggie, fruit, herb etc. you’d like to know more about- Just email me at tina@yogabean.net.  Thanks! 

Recipes furnished by www.foodnetwork.com,

Here is one recipe for oysters but don’t forget, there is another great recipe coming next week from Dr. Russo! 
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