Oysters come with a rags to riches story. Once the plentiful food of peasants some hundreds of years ago they rose to stardom in champagne bars and became the food of the high life with a price tag to match last century.
These days oysters are well and truly back on the menu and to be enjoyed in their full splendour.
We set about answering some of the questions you might need to know.
How to choose your oysters
Choose oysters that feel heavy in the hand, full of water with shells that are shut tight. Live oysters are tightly clamped shut, or clamp shut when tapped - a good sign that there's a fresh, juicy oyster inside. Oysters absolutely must shiver when you put the lemon on.
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How to store your oysters
It's best to use oysters as fresh as you can. But they can be stored in a refrigerator for up to one week.
How to shuck your oysters
First things first, When shucking oysters, the right equipment counts. In this case it's as simple as having the right knife for the job. We have further details here.
Now you have the right tools, we look at how to open the oyster. Once you know how it's really quite simple. This great clip from Chefsteps shows you how to do it in under 45 seconds. The oyster liquor should be clear and not cloudy, and the smell should be of the sea.
Once you've expertly opened your oysters, next comes the good bit.
Purists will eat their fresh oysters just as they are, or at the very most, with a squeeze of lemon, or a French-style shallot vinegar.
Experts also adivise chewing oysters to release their full flavour.
If you want to get creative with oysters we have some gourmet oyster recipes to try from the likes of Alex Atala (Oysters with Brioche Crust and Marinated Tapioca, see image below) and Magnus Nilsson (grilled oysters with Attika).
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