Monday, November 29, 2010

How to Buy and Serve Virginia Oysters

Virginia oysters are harvested from North America's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Farm raised Virginia oysters are also available along much of the Atlantic Coast. Virginia oysters in the shell are sold by the bushel, peck, dozen or piece. When buying oysters, one can expect to need 40-60 standard oysters to obtain a pint of raw shucked oysters and liquor.

Oysters are also sold freshly shucked, in their own juice. The number of oysters per pint varies depending on market sizes. These are some common market sizes for shucked oysters:

Extra Large or Counts - less than 20
Large or Extra Select - 20–26
Medium or Select - 26–38
Small or Standard - 38–63
Very Small - more than 63

When serving raw oysters on the half shell as an appetizer, plan on 5-6 oysters per person, or 12-18 per person as an entree. Most recipes that call for shucked oysters are based on using 1 pint of oysters and liquor.

Steamed oysters should not be overcooked. Steamed or roasted oysters are served with melted butter, cider vinegar or other condiments. Other sides suitable for serving with steamed oysters include home baked breads, green salads and light soups.

More Information

How to Shuck Oysters

How to Steam Oysters
Traditional Oyster Recipes

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