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Oyster, people like them, people don't like them. Nonetheless, they are interesting creatures.
An oyster is a bivalve mollusc (creature with no head and an external shelf ). Other molluscs include, scallops, mussels, clams, cockles & razor shells.
Oysters live in brackish water, like lakes, low water bays or marines. They are effective creatures that filter the water in which they live in & feed themselves with plankton (microscopic plants). Oyster reefs play an important role in the marine life of waters, as because they are so effective in filtering the water, they provide a clean living for other animals like fish, shrimp and crabs. They say that an oyster can filter a couple of hundreds of liters water a day!
There are many different types of oysters farmed around the world, often named after the region they’re from. You can identify what area an oyster comes from by (simply) looking at the appearance of its shell & flavors. Yet, there are only 5 species you can categorize oysters in.
aka Rock Oyster
The Pacific Oysters originates from the Japan, but gain more recognition when brought to the USA in the 1900’s. They have a rough & ridged shell with ruffles edges and can range from gray, green to purple & goldish colour. They tend to be sweeter & less salty than the Atlantic Oyster, with more of a creamy & herby taste. After 18 months they’re fully grown.
Atlantic Oysters are oysters found along the North American East Coast, from Canada all the way down to Mexico. They have a smooth shell, round tear-drop shape & are larger compared with the Pacific Oyster. Recognizable colours are often brown, cream or forest green. They taste more mineral, salty, clean & savoury than other oysters. Like the Pacific Oyster, it takes them 18 months to be fully grown.
EUROPEAN FLAT OYSTER
aka Native Oyster
Native to Europe & the UK shores, the European Flat Oyster has a smooth flat saucer-round shape & have a mold-green to seaweed-green colour. They tend to have the boldest flavours of all the oysters. Meaty, crunchy, anchovy & seaweed flavours. European Flat Oysters need longer, between 34 & 48 months to be fully grown for sale.
Within the European Flat Oysters, there is another species which is called the Belons Oysters. You can only call them Belons Oysters if they are from the Brittany region in the North-East of France near the Belon River. So, while all Belons are European Flats, not all European Flats are Belons. I guess the French like to shake things up a bit, like with Champagne.
What thought to be a Pacific Oyster, farmers soon realized the Kumamoto Oyster are their own species. Original from Japan, they’re not that popular in Japan, but it’s one of the most popular oysters in the USA. They’re small & bowl-like deep with a rough shell (a Pacific mini version). Creamy, mild & sweet flavours. Kumamoto oysters grow slowly & prefer to be in warmer waters to enhance their flavours.
The Olympian Oyster originates from the West Coast of North America. As round & tiny as they are, it takes them up to 4 years to be fully grown. And then they still have a diameter of around 6cm. Coppery flavours with a creamy & sweet taste.
You can eat oysters raw, cooked or grilled. Served raw is usually done over crushed ice to keep the raw oysters chilled, with a lemon wedge, vinegar with shallots & tabasco. True oyster lovers eat them without anything, as it takes away the taste. Oysters are healthy & are a great source of zinc, vitamins & proteins. Study has shown it even increases the sex hormones!