Alongside lobster, oysters enjoy a certain reputation. They are considered something of a delicacy; the Rolls Royce of seafood. They have connotations of class and sophistication and imply a certain decadence. Yet, for all this, there are many who simply won’t give them the time of day. Perhaps they balk at the notion of shucking the oysters and swallowing them whole (by no means the only way to enjoy them). Perhaps it’s a simple fear of the unknown. But whatever your reasons not to try oysters, unless of course, you’re vegetarian or vegan even then there’s some debate among activists as to whether oysters feel pain since they don’t have a central nervous system, here are some facts that will hopefully convince you to give these fresh tasting, healthy and versatile shellfish a whirl…
They have prestige value… But they’re not expensive
We tend to think of freshly shucked oysters as the kind of delicacy that would accompany a glass of sparkling champagne enjoyed overlooking a yacht club on Miami Beach. The fact, however, is that while oysters do denote a sense of class and sophistication (and some seaside restaurants will charge you through the nose for them), they are not particularly expensive. Just go for a shop at Citarella.com and you’ll find wild cape oysters, Peconic oysters, and Prince Edward oysters all for less than $20 a dozen. You can even get them ready shucked (although, where’s the fun in that?). Prestige doesn’t have to be pricey!
An oyster makes a perfect accompaniment to a cocktail
If you want a drink and snack combo with a little more sophistication than a pint of lager and a bag of nuts, you may enjoy an oyster and cocktail combo. The pairing of oysters with spirits is actually an American tradition. Booze and brine have long been enjoyed by seafaring communities around the country although the New York oyster taverns of the 19th century were the most famous historical example of note. Try pairing your fresh oysters with a gin gimlet or a dry martini and you’ll see why this time-honored tradition resonates with so many.
Yes, they are an aphrodisiac… But that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Oysters have long been claimed to have aphrodisiac properties. 18th-century serial philanderer Casanova claimed that he breakfasted on 50 oysters a day which accounted for his mighty libido (hope he had some breath mints). But while Casanova’s exploits have passed into legend a 2005 study went some way towards proving the shellfish’s stimulating qualities. They are loaded with zinc which helps to maintain energy levels but they also contain rare amino acids which increase production of progesterone in women and testosterone in men.
Still, this is far from their only nutritional merit. Oysters can be a great contributor to any healthy diet. They’re not only loaded with protein, but they’re rich in vitamins C and B12 as well as minerals like selenium and iron as well as zinc.
Dive into something new and try some freshly shucked oysters the next time you visit a beachfront cafe. You may leave with a healthy and fascinating new favorite food.