Oysters are exotic, bizarre, sexy, provocative. No matter just how you feel about them, there’s a an excellent chance they compel you to ask a question or two.

I don’t know about you guys, yet I Google a most weird stuff. Sometimes, a straightforward answer come up immediately. Other times, no so much. I believed it might be helpful to carry out some simple (and caveated) answers to every one of your most wondered-about oyster queries. So once the following time once someone asks around oysters, you can drop some impressive knowledge on them.

You are watching: How many oysters in a bag

Oh, and also don’t forget the basics. It is what the Oyster 101 is right here for!

Disclaimer: a couple of mightbe a small “TMI” because that the casual oyster eater,so uhhh please read with caution. Ignorance have the right to be bliss!


What perform oysters eat?

Do oysters poop?

Are oysters yes, really aphrodisiacs?

Why is my oyster green?

Are oysters tho alive as soon as I eat them?

Do oysters feel pain?

Is it safe to eat oysters during months there is no the letter R?

How have the right to you tell if one oyster has actually gone bad?

There’s a small crab in mine oyster… is the normal??

There’s a creepy-looking worm in my oyster… is that normal??

Can friend recycle oyster shells?


What perform oysters eat?


Oysters eatphytoplanktonor little bits of birds suspended in the water. Theyarefilter feeders, which means that they attain their food byfiltering water in and over your gills. Adult Virginica oysters deserve to filter approximately 50 gallons the water per day. Sometimes they’re described as bottom feeders ordetritivores, yet don’t turn your sleep up in ~ them because of that.

To show their fascinating ability, here isa time-lapse of oysters in filtering action.


THE totality TRUTH

So currently you’re more than likely thinking… if oysters are equal possibility eaters, and they’re in water that’s full of “nutrients,” thennnn aren’t we just all eating crap?

Well, that is why friend still can’t order brand-new York harbor oysters ideal now, and also why us seriously need toprotect our watersfrom becoming even more mucked up. The Clean Water Act has really assisted improve water top quality in brand-new York Harbor and also elsewhere in the U.S., but we’ve still gained a long means to go.

Oysters space voracious vegetarians, but relatively picky about what they nosh on. In spite of the lack of a brain, oysters “know” what castle can and cannot digest.Bob Rheault, executive Director of the East coast Shellfish Growers Associationelaborates, “Even as a dust-speck size larvae they perform this. The oyster kinds identically-sized algal corpuscle (say Isochrysis and Chlorella) with 90% efficiency, even when combined with a soup of special silt. The Isochrysis goes into the gut and also the Chlorella and silt goes into the pseudofeces (rendering it bright green!). I have actually done this through radiotracers and also the degree of efficiency is remarkable. That is one factor why the American oyster is therefore adaptable and also can make it through in high silt invited waters while countless other organisms struggle and also suffocate through fouled gills.”

WHAT I want TO find OUT

Knowing thatoysters taste choose where they’re from—everything in the atmosphere has one impact—my continuing question is justhowdo particular algaes or water compositionaffectthe taste, and also is over there a science-based way to measure it? If you’re functioning on this form of research, please contact me!!

Do oysters poop?

THE an easy TRUTH

Yes, correct they do. Oystersexpel bothrealpoop ANDpseudofeces, which are particles of non-food points in their food.


SeeErin Byers Murray, author of “Shucked:Life on a brand-new England Oyster Farm,”blog post around it.


When you Google “oysters” and “poop” together, the conversation takes on a depressingly misinformed, ignorant, fear form. Some specifically one-sided, skewed write-ups by relatively prominent publicationsaren’t help the cause. Ns mean, have the right to someone just register oysterpoop.com and also clear the air around the totality subject the oysters and also foodborne illness? the happens, however it no happen virtually as much as that does with various other stuff we eat. I simply don’t know why the same people who cringe at raw oysters are happily scarfing down mysterymeat from sketchy fast food joints.


Are oysters aphrodisiacs?


Probably not. There is minimal scientific proof that supports this claim, however what we lack in science-based data, we humans love to fill in v anecdotal truth! Basically, if eat a dozen oysters get you in the mood, then just contact it a win.

How walk oysters gain such one amorous reputation? reprimand the Romans, Casanova (who claimed to eat 50 oysters because that breakfast every day and also swore they to be the reason for his world-famous libido), King Henry the IV, and cliché oyster marketing.

Oysters carry out contain a pretty high quantity of zinc and other great nutrients (vitamin B12, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins C, D, and also E, iron, magnesium, and also selenium), which are essential in reproductive advancement and all at once health. A study published in 2005 discovered two amino acids, D-aspartic acid (D-Asp) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), in shellfish, choose oysters, the were shown—at the very least in animals—to boost testosterone production. So over there is that.

But to point out WebMD’s great post around aphrodisiacs, “No food has actually been scientifically proven to stimulate the human sex organs. However foods and also the action of eating have the right to suggest sex to the mind, which in turn can help stimulate desire in the body.”


Many that us most likely unknowingly was introduced to the hatchet aphrodisiac in grade school while examining Greek mythology. The word is obtained from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexual love and beauty. Sidebar: the Greek word aphros means “foam,” and also Hesiod relates in his Theogony the Aphrodite to be born from the white foam created by the severed vul of Uranus (Heaven), after his son Cronus threw them right into the sea. Lovely.


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Why is mine oyster green?


If friend come across an oyster v green-tinted gills, favor the ones as presented above, think about yourself lucky.The greenish shade comes indigenous Haslea ostrearia, a type of microalgaethat the oysters are eating.It’s not harmful to eat one oyster prefer this, and in fact, that a new thatis very sought after. In France, theFine de Claire Verte oyster isconsidered to be a delicacyand command a greater price than its “blanc” counterparts.You can alsofind castle in USat random, but much more frequently in the winter when the blue diatoms are an ext abundant.


Oysters with eco-friendly gills have tendency to be hyped up as an “ultra-rare specialty”and marked up in price accordingly. Don’t autumn for it.

WHY A green OYSTER yes, really INTRIGUES ME

According come aresearch studypublished in may 2014, scientists have actually proposed that the blue-green pigment discovered in Haslea algae, well-known asmarennine, has actually been uncovered to have powerful antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Perhaps the green oyster is our super sexy superfood?


Are oysters quiet alive once I eat them?


You don’t want toeat a dead oyster, raw. Ideally, oysters need to be maintained alive rightup till the minute just prior to consumption. The love is right alongside the bottom adductor muscle, for this reason in most cases, separating the meat native the covering kills it.

That said, eat dead oysters isn’t necessarily walk to make you sick. However from the moment anything dies, it starts to decompose. A couple of hours isn’t going to carry out anything. A few days? Eh, ok pass.


A living, unshucked oyster will certainly be completely closed up, favor a rock. Can’t reprimand it for working difficult to avoid coming to be your dinner. If the invoice of the oyster gapes open and also doesn’t close with a couple of taps, it’s more than likely dead (or it could be really cold and sleepy… so offer it a minute if you simply pulled them the end of the fridge). If you bought a bag of freshly harvest oysters and also some room dead, they might still be cooked and enjoyed. Simply throw castle on thegrillorfry castle up. Masterful shuckers will toss out the dead persons long prior to they reach her platter. Sometimes, I will poke at the external edges the the mantle through a fork tong to see just how “lively”they still are.

Some oyster nerds at company Insider were fascinated by this and also decided to produce a video:

Random trivia: the French take high quality assurance come the next level by leaving the bottom adductor muscle attached. This permits you to suffer the freshest, many alive oyster together possible… but prepared to execute some occupational (and obtain silently judged ~ above it).

Do oysters feel pain?


It’s still up because that debate. Us don’t yes, really know.Somesaynowhile rather sayyes. Indigenous an anatomical standpoint, oysters execute not have actually a mind or a centralnervous system,so the is not likely that castle would experience the world inthe same method that other pets do. The said, the is unclear whether or no you require a mind in order to “feel” or procedure pain.

I inquiry Guinness world Record Oyster Shucker and restaurateurPatrick McMurrayfor his thoughts.“My belief—as ns am not a scientist—is that oysters feeling pain as much as plants feeling pain. Ache is a regarded sense come us. Oysters carry out not have sensory perception or ability to sense. Oysters react— close once touched, usage cilia to relocate food corpuscle etc. Some plants react the same way—flowers open and also close, Venus Flytrap every se.”


This question seems come be in ~ the crux of one more question: “Are oysters ok for vegans to eat?” I’m no a vegan, so i don’t really have an opinion top top this. However I really evaluate the dual-sided debate that theUnnatural Veganbrings to the table.

Is it for sure to eat oysters during months without the letter R?


Yes, it absolutely is for sure to eat life oysters throughout months without the letter “r” (e.g., May, June, July, August). If you in Australia and new Zealand, you’re more than likely thinking that’s once oysters space best!!!

So whereby did this idea come from?

Generally, many oyster gurus attribute this adage back to a time before modern-day oyster farming technology, as soon as the repopulation the oysters solely depended upon oysters in the wild. In the northern hemisphere, oysters spent lot of their energy reproducing throughout the r-less, summer months. During that time, the was ideal for harvesters to leave the the oysters alone to reseed the beds.


Some articles, prefer this brand-new York time piece, credits william Butler, an English medical professional to King James I, v stating, “The oyster is unseasonable and unwholesome in every months that have not the letter R in their name,” in 1599. However according come a 2017 brand-new York time article, the quote is likewise credited come Henry Buttes in one 1599 English cookbook, Dyets Drie Dinner. Luckily for you and me, Nigel Moore, an intrepid oyster enthusiast / history buff, created an comprehensive blog post about this whole thing.


So now you recognize that the R-month preeminence is the end of date and out that touch v the realities that the oyster sector today. Here are the 2 R rule that i follow: Refrigeration and also Regulation.

Refrigeration: don’t eat oysters that haven’t been preserved cold. The FDA recommends keeping live shellfish below 40 degrees F, specifically in summer months when the hazard of vibrio growth in the water is higher.

Regulation: Don’t eat arbitrarily oysters the you discover on the beach, unless if it’s native a designated recreational shellfish harvest zone. Also, nothing buy oysters from civilization or places without suitable documentation. To it is in extra conservative, an initial check to view if the company’s surname is listed on the FDA’s interstate Certified Shellfish Shippers List.

How can you phone call if an oyster has actually gone bad?


Have you guys heard the theegg test(good eggs sink, bad eggs float)? i wish there to be something as straightforward as the to gauge the high quality of an oyster. Over there is no straightforwardway come tell, however you deserve to train your senses to pick up red flags.I asked my favoriteSF Oyster Nerd, Greg Babinecz to take it a crack at this one in a few sentences. Greg, true to his oyster-nerdy-nature, couldn’t help but submit a substantial perspective ~ above the matter.


If it’s open and does no close come the touch, throw it away*.

If it smells stronglysulfuric or rotten, litter it away.

If that is really dry and has no juiciness to it, throw it away*.

*or compost.

GREG’S complete TAKE top top THE MATTER

Smell:Anything slightly afoul to your natural sense of what smells right, I would say is best to avoid. There space oysters that are naturally a little “funky,” and are prized as such. However anything the strongly smells of rotten eggs, petrol, or fish tank gravel, just light a match and also toss the in the garbage (outdoor trash, preferably). Some oysters will certainly have distinct “low tide” or metallic smells and also are good, yet those are rare and if she seeking those out, you’re more than likely not a novice shucker.

Look:A good oyster look at plump, juicy, and also has a glistening sheen to it. It just looks fresh. Quite regularly you’ll open up an oyster and also it will have actually a dried out, Jackson Pollock-esque splatter look to it. If castle still odor okay, they no necessarily bad, they simply aren’t good. Best use them for fried or BBQed oysters, or simply discard.

Taste:Several oysters i have shucked have passed the previous two tests, but then just taste like they’re spoiled. It will certainly look great, odor fine, but upon consumption, taste terrible. And also there is a discernible difference in between a strong flavored oyster and also a poor one. Copper, musky, and also even short tide seasonings don’t mean it’s bad. A really noticeable lack of salinity and also a sulfuric-gaseous pop when bitten and also you’ll instantly know that bad. These rogue goblin oysters space the bane of countless shuckers about the world.

Lastly, shell inspection:This need to come first, but not without expertise smell and also look. A great rule for any type of bivalve is that if its covering is cracked, has holes, or is open and will not close come the touch, it’s ideal to avoid (mussels and also scallops are kind of an exception). An open bill that will not close to the touch usually shows the oyster is dead. All oysters need to be alive right prior to consumption, and eating a dead one deserve to be dangerous (see #4). Also if it smells and looks fine, however was open, I’d say finest to avoid. I’ve absolutely gambled ~ above some open up bivalves before and been okay, however it’s ideal to play it safe. However hey, it’s her stomach and also your dice to roll.

There’s a small crab in my oyster… is that normal??


“Sure that normal; it’s dubbed apea craband resides her whole life inside the oyster. The crab doesn’t hurt the oyster and it i will not ~ hurt you come eat both. In fact it’s great luck to eat the pea crab. Enjoy!” it is reassurance fromChris Ludford, grower ofPleasure house Oystersand permanent fire boat captain because that Virginia Beach.

If girlfriend shuck your very own oysters, you’ll most likely encounter one or two.Raw bar shuckerswill most likely remove them because that you before you even see them.


Not much. Salty choose the sea, and the texture is prefer kind of choose alfalfa sprouts. If eat them alive renders you squeamish, climate pan fry them up through a dash that Old Bay.

ARE they IN every OYSTERS?

In my experience, pea crabs space most typical in Easternoysters from brackish water. In fact, I only recall see them inoysters native the long Island Sound and inlets follow me the Chesapeake Bay. The doesn’t median they’re not somewhere else though! (I once found a pea crab in an ultra-briny north Carolina oyster.)

Random fact: male pea crabs will move from oyster come oyster to do “house calls,” when the ladies remain put.

There’s a creepy spring worm in mine oyster… is that normal??


Every time i hang out witha buddy of mine fromLA (who’s no an oyster fan, yet we obtain along anyway), that never fails to call his story around that one time as soon as he encountered amassive, horrendously large worm in his oyster, “like that wasDuneor something.” that a disturbing visual and pretty unappetizing. Fortunately, it’s not abnormal or alien. The said,I don’t take photos that oyster worms so ns sharing aphoto indigenous theEastern Shoreto assist relax friend instead.

If you don’t want to take my word because that it, this is oyster farmerMatt GreggofForty north Oyster Farms, who has actually encounteredhisfairshareofweirdness, top top the subject: “Oysters have the right to be the perfect host for numerous tiny marine invertebrates, no one of which, come my knowledge are harmful come humans. Oysters that flourish in muddy and also lower salinity settings tend come harbor one organism called abloodworm. If you’re squeamish (most oyster eaters room not), stick come ocean-grown oysters. Bloodworms can’t survive those conditions.”

Can girlfriend recycle oyster shells?


In many cases approximately the country, the shells that weleave behindat theraw bargo straight right into the garbage, which is important a cursed shame. Oyster shells have the right to be recycled and repurposed because that a number of things together aschicken feeding booster,garden fertilizer,wedding decor, and also most notably, together theperfectsubstrate for infant oysters to thrive on. Unfortunately,running a covering collection program islogistically challengingand prettyexpensive. The opportunity cost?One seaside villagein Chinahas put a reclaimed value of about $3200 USD every ton of covering (for fertilizer and also construction material.) the number would definitely be higherif you thought about its restorative value back into ours environment.


The symbiotic relationship between atraditional oyster planterand theoyster shucking housecreates a closeup of the door loop system. The shells go back to the oyster farmer as the base for the following crop. Yet demand is beginning to swing in favor ofhalf shell consumption, which means we’re still running on a nationwide shell deficit.

See more: Norman Rockwell Limited Edition Plates Value, Norman Rockwell


Oyster shell collection and oyster repair initiatives have actually been structure momentum about the country, together as follow me the Chesapeake and the Gulf. Ns personally rooting because that NYC’s own oyster reconstruction & education program.Pete Malinowski, executive, management Director ofBillion Oyster task explains:

“The vast bulk of oyster shells produced in brand-new York City’s restaurants space packed into plastic bags and driven come points southern to it is in landfilled. At exchange rate Oyster Project, we need oyster shells because that our repair projects and work difficult to recover as plenty of as we deserve to from restaurants. Appropriate now, we space collecting shells native 45 restaurants four days per week. We median overone ton of covering per dayand are on monitor to collection 210 lots this year. The shells spend one year curing in ~ the NRG Arthur death Power tree in Staten Island. Once cured, we ar the shells in tanks v oyster larvae. The larvae collection on the shells developing the swarm of oysters we usage for reef building.”