It’s May-June-July-August and you love oysters yet you’re waiting until September to devour your favorite seafood.
Why? You can eat oysters year-round (and should. They’re not only good. They’re great for you thanks to all the nutrients in them). It’s hard to discredit myths that are nothing but old fish tales, but here we go.
Back in the day, the adage said it was only OK to eat oysters in months that contained an r in their spelling. Of course, that eliminates May, June, July and August. The practice of only eating oysters in the colder months dates back 4,000 years.
Prior to advanced refrigeration, it wasn’t unusual for oysters to sit on the dock after they were caught, baking under the kind of temperatures that have kept many of us indoors this summer. Add to that that oysters were often not as tasty right after spawning. More bacteria and algae are often present in warmer waters, which can lead to foodborne illness.
Oyster farming evolved, making it perfectly safe to eat oysters during the R-less months. Today’s oyster farmers are aquaculturists who rely on sophisticated tools to monitor water quality and harvest sustainably. Regulations are in place to ensure oyster safety. You won’t see oysters sunning themselves on docks anymore; they are immediately refrigerated.
Always buy oysters from reputable sources. Check where they came from and when they are harvested. Don’t buy oysters and then run around doing multiple errands. Take them home and refrigerate them immediately unshucked. Ideally eat them within a few days of purchase. You’ll be glad you did. Fried, baked, grilled, broiled, steamed or raw, have an oyster this month or any month! They’re only safe to eat – they’re yummy!