“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well I have always been told that the oyster season starts in September. Daddy always said that one should only eat oysters in months having an ‘R’ in it” she replied.
I attempted to correct her but she wouldn’t listen. I had heard the same thing in the past. The oysters from the months of May through August were too milky to eat, I was told. In July and August the oyster may indeed turn milky, but they are edible.
Oysters can be tastier in winter and early spring when the water is usually saltier. Years ago someone came up the “R” months as a way to remember the best times to eat them but they are safe to eat 12 months of the year.
I remember seeing fishermen in Holly Beach grappling for oysters, one oyster or a cluster of them at a time. Some fishermen used rakes or thongs to gather larger amounts in shallow beds. Seemed like a lot of work at the time for $20 a sack. Shucking was quite a chore but well worth it. The fresh oysters were great.
There are so many stories about oysters. And some of them are actually true. Oysters start life as a male and after a year they can change to a female. After three years most oysters have become females. The very small oysters are usually males and the larger ones are the females.
While eating oysters one can sometime bite a crude pearl. This results because material such as a parasite becomes trapped inside the shell. When this happens the oyster will produce a combination of calcium and protein that after a period becomes a pearl. Pearl oysters are a special variety that produces commercial grade pearls. Producers are able to control the types and color of oyster pearls that customers cherish.
We have all heard old timers comment about how good oysters are for one’s love life. New scientific studies indicate that it may be true but unfortunately only for the human male.
A recent online story “Louisiana Oysters – Light up Your Love Life” lists the top 10 foods one should eat. Number one was oysters followed by bananas, fatty fish, broccoli, Brazil nuts, whole grains, stanols, soybeans, berries, and red-orange vegetables.
Oysters are one of the very few animals that can be eaten raw. In Cajun country most restaurants will feature them on the half shell but also fried, barbecued, soup, in gumbo, seafood dressing, casseroles, Bienville and other chef specialties.
There is a myth that oysters are so nutritious that a person needs to eat only a dozen a day, and nothing else, in order to survive. Actually 12 raw oysters provides about 120 calories, a lot of calcium and salt, so it is not a diet I would recommend.
Hope to see that young lady at the seafood section of the store soon.
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