Storing Oysters in Summer
The saying goes that you can only eat oysters when there is an 'r' in the month, which is true when it comes to native oysters, but you can enjoy rock oysters all year round. You just have to be careful how to store them when you receive your delivery, especially during these hot summer days.
A little about our oyster farm: our rock oysters don't grow in nets or cages instead they sit on the river bed, on the mud where they move about with the tide. For part of the day they are out of the water at low tide exposed to the same temperatures that we are. We monitor the water temperature in the river, which today is about 20C and the oysters happily sit, eat and grow.
Once the oyster have been picked or dredged they are depurated (purified) in our seawater tanks and the temperature of that water is about 12C. The oysters are held in the tanks for a minimum of 42 hours before they are packed into tubs or nets to order.
The oysters are used to warmer temperatures and if when you receive them you put them in the fridge which most of us have set between 3C and 5C they will get a big shock. The ideal place to store oysters in the summer is a beer cellar, but not all of us have one of these!
At home, we recommend that you place the oysters in a bowl with a damp cloth or wet newspaper on top or open up the box, keeping the oysters as they are and again place a damp cloth or wet newspaper on top of the oysters. Then place them somewhere cool, like a dark shed in the garage or in a cool box on top of a little ice to keep them chilled but not cold. Remembering that they are used to temperatures of 12C should help you find the right place in your home.
Should that not be possible then do put them in the fridge under a damp cloth but at the top where it's warmer and check your fridge isn't on too cold.