Q: What do Island Creek Oysters taste like?
A: We think you’ll find these oysters to be pretty near perfect. There’s a bite of salinity up front that Shore says will “slap you across the face with complexity” after the first few bites. Skip calls them buttery and mossy with a toothy bite. “It’s something to sink your teeth into,” he adds. We encourage folks to eat them naked or with a splash of lemon to bring out the ocean-y goodness.
Q: Are oysters good for you?
A: Aside from being low in cholesterol (only 55mg per half dozen) and fat (only about 2g per half dozen), oysters are also one of the most concentrated natural sources of the tremendously beneficial mineral zinc. They also contain high levels of the amino acid tyrosine (which helps regulate mood and stress levels), omega 3 fatty acids, collagen (which keeps your skin looking young), iron, calcium, and vitamin A. The short answer is: Oysters are a super food.
Q: When I eat oysters are they still alive?
A: Yes. They have no real nervous system though, so they won’t hold it against you more than, say, broccoli would.
Q: What should I put on my oysters?
A: For the true experience eat them naked (that is, sans sauce); however, if the love affair is a long one and you’re looking to spice things up we have a few do’s and don’ts.
- Lemon - Regular Tabasco
- Green Chili Crack (Available at Corazon del Mar, Nantucket Island)
Dont’s: - Cocktail sauce and/or horseradish* (Cocktail sauce was invented in Ohio in the 19th century before there was adequate refrigeration to mask the taste of rancid oysters. We work hard to impart complex flavor to our oysters, please don’t render our efforts vain by using cocktail sauce. For addicts: when we need a cocktail sauce fix, we eat some shrimp alongside our bivalves.)
Q: What beverages go best with oysters?
A: Lots. Think minerality, citrus, and salt. There are lots of good wines that go with our oysters such as certain Muscadets and Basque wines. There are a number of great oyster beers as well. The best is obviously our Island Creek Oyster Stout from Harpoon Brewery. We also like Chimay Blue.
Q: Can I eat oysters in months without an R?
A: Ah yes, the old “R Months” adage. First and foremost: Yes, you can eat Island Creek Oysters all year round. But, if you’re really curious, here’s where the adage comes from:
Facts about the R Rule: The Rule: People have historically been told not to eat oysters during months that don’t have the letter “R” (May, June, July, August)
Oysters typically spawn during the months of May, June, July & August; during and after spawning, oysters have put all of their energy into spawning and secreting which causes their meat to taste flabby and less flavorful.
More Current Truth:
In order for an oyster to spawn, water temperatures need to reach at least 70 degrees (hence the summer month time frame). Oysters grown in cold water areas, like Duxbury Bay, typically do not spawn and are therefore delicious all year round. Also, many oyster farmers are experimenting with triploids, a broodstock of oysters that are asexual and therefore unable to spawn. Because they don’t spawn, they retain full meat and flavor all year long.
These were the months when it was illegal to harvest in certain locations – this happened at a time when most oysters were coming from wild, naturally occurring reefs.
More Current Truth:
Many of these restrictions, put in place by state governments, are still valid where wild oysters (which are rare) are collected but the restriction does not apply to farmed oysters because the cultivation (ie: farming) process ensures that oyster stocks are not being depleted but in fact grown specifically for harvesting and consumption.