The first thing to know about oysters and pearls is that not all oysters make gem quality pearls and some species do not make pearls at all. There are two basic groups of oysters, edible oysters and pearl oysters.
Those that are edible, come from the Ostreidae family. Oysters in this family include the Pacific Oyster, the Wellfleet Oyster and the Belon Oyster. Edible oysters are often referred to as true oysters.
Pearl producing oysters are from the pteriidae or feather oyster family.
Oysters from this family are able to produce both natural and cultured pearls. Pearls are created when a foreign substance gets inside the shell of an oyster. The material is annoying and abrasive to the oysters unprotected soft body. The irritant is quite often a parasite that gets into an oysters shell and not a grain of sand., as many people believe. To counter this irritant the oyster begins to produce a substance called nacre. Nacre is better known as mother of pearl. The oyster covers the foreign material or parasite with layers and layers of nacre which forms a pearl. Continue reading →
Oysters which used to be considered a poor man’s food are now one of the world’s delicacies. There are hundreds of ways that an oyster can be prepared and eaten. They are also the subject of many myths and old wives tales. What are the facts about oysters?
Casanova ate oysters every day.
Oysters are able to change their sex. Most oysters are male for the first year of their lives and then become female by the age of two or three.
An oyster eats by taking nutrients out of the water. It does this by filtering the water. An oyster is capable of filtering 60 gallons of water every day.
Oysters may contain viruses. Special care is needed to handle and eat oysters.
One common virus carried by the oyster is norovirus. The norovirus can cause gastroenteritis, or stomach flu. The most common symptoms of this are diarrhea, vomiting and cramps. This condition can be fatal.
Oysters can be eaten year round. There is an old wives tale that says you should only eat oysters in months that have a “r”. in them. This a myth. Continue reading →