Frequently Asked Questions on Oysters (Use scroll bar on right)
Our answers are based on our own experiences, research and opinions. Please do not interprete any information below as professional or expert advice.
Q: Why Simply Oysters?
A: We were often disappointed by the very small selection of oysters available - if any - from our local shops and supermarkets. We also weren't confident about the freshness of those oysters that were on display.
We became inspired to create our own oyster website so that more people could access and enjoy the freshest possible UK oysters, couriered direct from UK oyster farms to homes, businesses, and events in the UK...
With our Oyster Map of the UK, you can choose any type, any quantity, any size, and any combination of oysters. All oysters shown on our Oyster Map of the UK comply with food health and safety laws set our by UK and EU authorities. Oysters are purified for a minimum of 42 hours in natural sea water in temperature controlled tanks within licenced depuration facilities at the oyster farms. Oysters are carefully packed fresh to order Monday to Thursday and dispatched the same day by UK oyster farms, for next day delivery to addresses in mainland UK by reliable couriers. That means, these oysters are the freshest oysters possible!
Over time, we hope you take an 'oystour' of the UK and try all 15 types of oysters shown on our Oyster Map UK
We only promote and sell oysters from selected EU licensed oyster farms in the UK, who responsibly and sustainably harvest oysters under industry best practices and local and EU health and safety standards.
Q: How can I keep track of my courier delivery of oysters?
A: As part of our service, when you order fresh oysters for delivery within mainland UK, we provide you with the courier reference details, so you can track the status of the delivery from dispatch from the oyster farm to delivery to your address.
Please ensure that someone is available to sign for the parcel at the time of delivery. If no one will be available at the time of delivery, then at 'checkout' under 'comments', please leave any additional delivery information (for example, leave parcel in front porch). If the courier is unable to deliver to your address, the courier may leave the parcel with your neighbour, at a local collection depot, or attempt delivery to your address the next business day.
Q: How do I choose the best oysters?
A: When you buy oysters, always buy from a reputable oyster supplier. The oysters must be as fresh as possible. Never compromise on freshness. All oysters shown on our Oyster Map UK are prepared and packed fresh to order and dispatched the same day by the oyster farm, for next day courier delivery to addresses in mainland UK. These are the freshest oysters possible!
Upon receipt of delivery, open your box or parcel of oysters. Oysters should be closed shut. However, sometimes oysters open while in transit or stored in the fridge. To check for freshness, take any oysters that have opened and tap them firmly on the bench. If the oyster closed when tapped, it's live and fine to eat. Discard any oyster that doesn’t close when tapped, or that has a broken or cracked shell.
Each oyster is unique with flavours influenced by their local waters, tides, winds, temperatures, seasons etc. We've tasted all of the oysters shown on our Oyster Map UK. Under each of the oysters shown on simplyoysters.com click on Taste Review for our description of the oysters' textures and flavours. All oysters shown on our Simply Oysters Map have been carefully selected by us based upon our strict criteria, which includes: freshness, quality, taste, sustainability etc. These oysters are supplied to top oyster bars, restaurants and hotels across the UK.
We're confident that all oysters shown on our Oysters Map UK will please all oyster novices, enthusiasts, and connoisseurs!
Q: I'm new to oysters, should I eat them raw, or cooked?
A: If you're new to oysters, try a few cooked oysters first, as the taste is less intense. Fast and easy to prepare and cook, try our Grilled Oysters with Herb Butter recipe, it's one of our favourite cooked oyster recipes!
When you're ready, try a few oysters raw or au naturel. We'd recommend small to medium sized oysters, as they're smaller, and easier to eat from the half shell. Add a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of lime, or a dash of sauce.
For inspiration, click on our Oyster Recipes for some of the best oysters recipes on the planet!
Photo (L): Grilled Oysters with Herb Butter by Simply Oysters.
Q: How do I know when an oyster is cooked?
A: You'll know when an oyster is cooked when the outside edge of the oyster meat just starts to curl. Perfect! Never over cook oysters, otherwise the oysters will have a 'rubbery' texture and contain very little flavour.
Q: Should I chew oysters or swallow them whole?
A: Like all seafood, shellfish and other meats - chew the oyster meat. When you chew the oyster meat, you release the full succession of flavours. See our Taste Review.
For more information, click on How to Eat Oysters
Q: Are oysters nutritious?
A: Each oysters is rich in vitamins, minerals, protein (one of the few foods that contain all nine essential amino acids!) and Omega 3. The oyster is low in calories too. For example, the total calories in half a dozen oysters au naturel is less than 3% of the recommended calorie intake for the normal person per day! Click on Oyster Nutrition for more nutritional facts about oysters.
Q: Is it true that oysters are an aphrodisiac?
A: Sexual stimulants are often called "aphrodisiacs" (after Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and procreation). Since Roman times, oysters have had a well deserved reputation as an aphrodisiac!
The oyster is an excellent source of zinc*. For example, six oysters can provide as much as 76 milligrams of zinc at once, which is almost seven times the recommended daily amount for the normal person per day. Zinc plays a vital part in the production of testosterone in men.
US and Italian scientists funded by the US National Institute of Health, found that natural oysters contain very high levels of zinc, and the rare D-aspartic (D-ASP) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) amino acids. Zinc, and these rare amino acids contribute towards increased levels of testosterone production (libido stimulant), muscle mass, and physical endurance. Therefore, in theory, oysters can in fact lead to increased libido.
Why not take the time to check if oysters are indeed aphrodisiacs? A bunch of red roses, a romantic dinner for two. To start, a half-dozen freshly shucked oysters au naturel, paired with a bottle of fine wine...
The rest is up to you!
Click on Oyster Nutrition for more health benefits of oysters.
*Zinc also benefits your immune system, as it helps to build over 100 different types of enzymes, and protects the body from sickness and decay. Zinc also contributes to quality of eyesight, taste, smell, hair and skin.
Q: Does size matter?
A: Not when it comes to oysters!
The size of an oyster has no affect on its quality or taste.
For au natural oysters, we prefer small to medium sized oysters, as they're easier to eat from the half shell. We find that large oysters can be quite a mouthful, best eaten with a fork.
For cooked oysters: We prefer medium or large sized oysters, as they're more of a meal! Try Grilled Oysters with Herb Butter and for the kids, it has to be Pan Fried Oysters (always use large sized oysters). Simply delicious!
Q: Is it true that I can only eat Native Oysters in the months that contain the letter “r”?
A: In the UK, by law, Native (Flat or European) Oysters can only be harvested and available for sale between 1 September and 30 April each year (months that contain the letter “r”). This is known as the Native Oyster season. This helps to protect the sustainable development of UK Native Oyster stocks. In any case, outside of the Native Oyster season, Native Oysters spawn, and meat quality is at its lowest.
Pacific (Rock) Oysters are harvested and available for consumption in the UK all year.
Q: Are oysters safe to eat?
A: All oyster farms shown on our Oyster Map UK are EU licensed, follow best industry standards and practices, and comply with UK and EU food, health and safety standards. Like all seafood and shellfish, to maintain freshess, always store oysters in the fridge immediately. Click on How to Store Oysters to find out more.
Oysters harvested from approved waters by approved oyster farms, and packed under sanitary conditions, are usually safe for raw consumption by healthy indivduals. To reduce the risk of food-borne illness, cook the oysters to an internal temperature of 60ºC (140ºF) for a minimum of six minutes. Oysters can be cooked in a variety of ways. For example: steamed, stewed, roasted, baked, broiled, poached and fried.
Note: Like many foods, you should not consume oysters if you're in poor health (for example if you have chronic illness of the liver, stomach or blood; or you have any immune disorders); if you're allergic to oysters; if you're pregnant; if you're an older person; or for very young children. If you have any doubt about whether or not you can eat oysters, you should consult with your doctor for advice before you eat oysters. If ever you’re sick after you’ve eaten oysters, you should consult your doctor for advice. For further information, please seek professional advice from your doctor or your local public health office.
Q: I am allergic to shellfish, so should I eat oysters?
A: There are two types of shellfish: Crustaceans (for example, prawns, shrimp, crab, crayfish and lobster) and Mollusks (for example, clams, mussels, whelks, scallops and oysters). Crustacean shellfish are considered the most allergenic. Many people who are allergic to one type of shellfish are also allergic to other types, therefore, it may be best to avoid all shellfish. For further information, please seek professional advice from your doctor or your local public health office.
Q: Where should I store oysters?
A: To maintain freshness, store oysters in the fridge immediately upon receipt of delivery. You can store oysters in the fridge for up to five days. For the freshest and tastiest oysters, we like to consume them within one to three days.
Click on How to Store Oysters for the correct way to store oysters in the fridge.
Q: Can I freeze oysters?
A: We love fresh oysters, so we're 100% biased! We don't recommend that you freeze oysters at all, period.
Q: How should I open (shuck) oysters?
A: Oysters can be unpredictable to shuck. Oyster knives and oyster shells are sharp - oyster shells are even sharper when broken! One accidential slip of the knife or oyster shell could be fatal. In France, at Christmas last year, over 2,000 people who'd shucked oysters were admitted to hospital with serious hand injuries.
The first rule is to ALWAYS use the correct tools to shuck oysters...
Don't attempt to shuck oysters with a standard kitchen knife, screwdriver or any other item from the toolbox!
Photos (L to R): Always use specialist oyster utensils to shuck oysters, such as: Wusthof Oyster Knife 4281, 4282, 4284; and Honeywell Chainex 2000 Chainmail Glove
Q: How should I prepare and serve oysters?
A: For cold oysters, we shuck and serve them on our simplyshuck Oyster Trays (available in three sizes for entrees, mains, and parties). These oyster trays keep the oysters level and stable, so that all of the oysters' liquor (the small pool of clear filtered seawater found in the bottom half shell) remain within their half shells. No need for ice or ice refills - and no mess, no fuss. We always fine that the oysters (stored in the fridge) are always cold, and once shucked remain on the tray for only a few minutes before they're consumed by our family and friends! If it's a really hot day, we occasionally present the oysters a bed of ice in a round or oval dish.
For cooked oysters, we prepare, cook and serve them on our oyster trays (100% oven and BBQ safe), then serve the cooked oysters on the same trays, direct from the oven or BBQ to the table. The oysters' liquor and any added ingredients remain within their half shells. Fast, easy. Perfect!
Photos (L to R): simplyshuck Oyster Trays available in three sizes.