|What is an Oyster?|
Washington-grown OystersAn Oyster's LifePearls of a
Different ColorPull-tab OystersOyster Varieties
The oyster is a bivalve mollusk--also called a shellfish because it lives in a two-part shell. The shell is joined at
one end by a hinge, and can be closed by the oyster's powerful adductor muscle (the dark spots on the inside of an empty
shell are the points to which the ends of this muscle adhered).
Oysters can snap their shells closed with lightning speed and with
the power of a vise. To open a live oyster, you must insert a knife blade between the shells and sever the adductor muscle, then remove the meat. This is
called "shucking." Firmness, color and other qualities of the meat are affected by various factors such as water, food availability and sexual maturity. Flavors and textures of oyster meats may range from sweet, buttery and slightly salty, to rich-flavored, briny and slightly metallic.
*Notice to Oyster Stew Viewers (click here).
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