Fact or Myth? Oysters In Months with the Letter "R" Posted by: Aaron Stearns | 1 Comment
Have you ever heard the advice that you should only eat oysters in months that contain the letter “R?” That means these warm summer months – May, June, July and August – are traditionally off limits. Today, we’re breaking down the myth, and giving you the facts about when is the best time to eat oysters.
The myth of avoiding raw oysters during the summer months stems from a few dated practices in the oyster harvesting industry, long before oysters were farmed year round as they are now. For starters, oysters traditionally reproduce in the warmer summer months, so the harvesting season was officially closed back in the day so that the oysters had time to spawn. Also, during that spawning time, oysters tend to be more soft and rank as they are preparing for reproduction. Lastly, pre-refrigeration in that is available in modern times, it wasn’t safe to eat raw seafood that had been sitting out on docks during warmer summer months.
Do we still need to be weary of oysters in months that don’t include an “R?” The short answer is no, feel free to enjoy oysters year round.
- Oyster farms in cooler water, such as in the Northeastern US, can farm oysters year round.
- Modern science has produced new breeds of oysters farmed in warmer regions that don’t spawn in the summer, and therefore maintain their taste and texture.
- There are now processes in place to protect consumers, and monitor water quality where oysters are farmed.
- We have better food safety practices that require oysters to be refrigerated immediately upon coming out of the water.
What months actually are the best to eat oysters?
Although we know it is fine and safe to enjoy oysters year round, they do traditionally tend to taste better in the fall and winter, than summer. Many experts say September and October are their favorite time to enjoy raw oysters, when they are more plump and sweet. That means prime oyster season is right around the corner. Time to get shucking!
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