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Author Topic: When to eat oysters.
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing

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My mother came back from Maine today and was telling me how great the oysters were. She said this is the time to eat them because the month ends in an 'r'. She said the rule of thumb is that oysters should only be eaten in months that end in 'r'. I said this sounds like it could be a an UL. I had oysters in Delaware back in July and they were quite tasty.
The only thing I could think of,if she is correct,is that off-month oysters may be farm raised.

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Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)

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As soon as I read this I thought of Alice in Wonderland - The glowing red R in the word march on the Oysters calendar. I always assumed it meant beware the ides of March. So I think March is a bad month for oysters and a tasty one for the ones eating them.

I tried googling up some info and just got some recipes. [dunce]

Ralphie, get off the stage sweetheart.

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Deck the Malls

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I found this site:


Thank goodness, nowadays, one does not have to wait until there is an R in the month to eat oysters. This prohibition was for the good of the oyster, of course and not the consumer (native oysters spawn in our waters in the summer months). Modern mollusc farming methods mean that we can now savour these salty little blobs all year round. Devotees of Mrs Isabella Beaton must have found it hard to live without them between May and September - she listed no less than 20 recipes for oysters in her famous tome on Household Management.

The old saw goes something like this: "Never eat oysters in a month without an 'R' in it."

This stern dictum raises the obvious question in some inquiring minds: What happens in May, June, July and August? And why shouldn't you eat oysters then?

Oysters spawn during the summer. Spawning takes a lot of energy. During reproduction, an oyster consumes the energy stored in its plump little body to aid in its heroic and taxing effort. The result is a tired, flaccid, mushy oyster with a milky appearance.

In actuality, it's not that you can't or shouldn't eat healthy oysters in the summer. Or that you'll die from eating one. It's that they're, er, busy and, as such, not at their prime for eating.

I am the snake. Bite, bite, bite.

Posts: 247 | From: Winnipeg, Canada | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
put it in writing
Xboxing Day

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Down here in Florida, I was raised with the oyster rule: do not eat them raw until after a good freeze. The idea being, when the water is warm there's a lot more bacteria in and around the tasty little buggers, so you're more likely to get sick.

But I'll eat 'em cooked, any way you want - fried, broiled, in soup, rocky - all year round.

and it's 1 - 2 - 3, what are we fighting for? don't ask me, I don't give a damn

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song

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I do like flinching fresh oysters, preferably washed down with vintage champagne or ice-cold Guinness [Wink] and have scoffed a good few hundred in my time without any problems but I was always assured of the quality - without direct knowledge of the catch you wouldn't catch me any where near a fresh oyster regardless of the month, although after their mating season they are usually poor.

Whether or not they are carrying bacterium depends on the quality of water around the oyester grounds....

This is where I come up with something right? Something really clever...

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The Bills of St. Mary's

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I always follow the rule because I think it does affect the flavor. Though as noted by OSG, the rule is about months with Rs not months ending in Rs.

What I did wonder recently was does the rule chage south of the equator? Or are their oysters imported?

Beach...oysters, oysters are prolific...Life!

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

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The Red and the Green Stamps

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When to eat oysters?


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Tootsie Plunkette
Buy a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella

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When to eat oysters?



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have yourself a Merry Little Galaxy
The First USA Noel

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Originally posted by BeachLife:
What I did wonder recently was does the rule chage south of the equator? Or are their oysters imported?

Don't know about elsewhere, but in Australia we definitely grow our own! Pacific oysters are cultivated in South Australia and Tasmania, but there is also the Sydney Rock Oyster which is a native species.

Now according to this, South Australian oysters are at their best in the southern-hemisphere winter months - so being pacific oysters, it would appear they do reverse the rule south of the equator. However I can't find any reference to the spawning habits of Sydney Rock Oysters (other than how prolific they are!).

Whatever the species, I'll eat mine cooked, thanks. Kilpatrick, preferably.

Little Galaxy

I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains - that's why I live in Melbourne, where it always bloody rains.

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Deck the Malls

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Yup.. nothing more nasty than a mealy, underdeveloped oyster.

I like them robust, healthy (never eat a dead oyster on the half shell!), plump - swimming in their little shells on a bed of crushed ice. Very good plain, or with a squeeze of lemon and hot sauce. Oh, and a single bottle of icy - and I mean ICY cold beer. Mmmmmm...

Cooked ones are decent too - love some fried oysters, and some Oysters Rockefeller - but straight up on the half shell is delicious.

I've heard the R thing too. I lived on the coast for a while when I was a teenager and I seem to associate the 'oyster roast' get togethers we'd have with our family occuring in the colder months, come to think of it. You could only buy the bushels 'in season'.

All fiction is cultural history.
All history is cultural fiction.

Posts: 292 | From: Greenville, North Carolina | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator

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