Reader Question – One of our family’s favorite foods is oysters. Whenever we find oysters on sale, I immediately go on a buying spree – frequently buying more than we can possibly eat in a few days! Since I don’t want any of these oysters to waste, I would like to know if I can freeze them and eat them later.
Fresh and raw oysters are great treats for children and adults alike! Whether during the cold season of winter or during the warm days of summer, you can eat this salty seafood through shucking and slurping, or cook it into your favorite meals.
Yes, you can freeze oysters. Oysters may be frozen while in their shells or shucked with the oyster liquor. However, once oysters have been frozen, they cannot be consumed raw because the freezing process kills them. You can still cook them in various soups, stews, casseroles, and chowders. The texture and flavor of the frozen oysters vary from that of raw ones but can still add that distinct taste to any meal.
Can You Freeze Oysters?
If you have enough space in your freezer, keep the live oysters within their shells to retain a more flavorful taste. Make sure that the shells are scrubbed clean to avoid any mess when thawing them out.
Test whether an oyster is still alive by tapping on their shells. The shells should close tightly. Any oysters with open shells should be thrown out as they are already dead.
Shucking can be done ahead of time, for convenience or for storage purposes. After shucking and cleaning the oysters from shells, submerge them in the oyster liquor. Add water if the liquor is not enough to cover the oysters.
Remember that freezing kills the oysters! This means that you cannot eat them raw after freezing. Instead, cook the oysters and add them to your favorite casseroles and meals.
The soft flesh of the oyster will change after freezing and thawing it. If this change in texture bothers you, you can blend the oysters and mix them into your soup.
Keep frozen oysters from one to three months. However, for best flavor and quality, reheat and cook the frozen oysters within weeks of preparation.
How to Freeze Oysters
Whether in-shell or shucked oysters, freezing is the best way to retain flavor and prolong the shelf life of this tasty seafood treat.
- Clean the oyster shells thoroughly to remove any sand and mud.
- Throw away any dead oysters – those whose shells have already opened, and those that do not close when tapped.
- If you are freezing the oysters within their shell, store them in plastic zipping freezer bags. Make sure to label the bags with the date of preparation.
- If space is an issue, or when dealing with oysters that are already shucked, first separate the oyster liquor from the meat.
- Rinse the oyster meat to get rid of any sand or dirt remaining. Use a strainer to make this task easier.
- Strain the oyster liquor to remove large pieces of shell or sand.
- Place the oysters and oyster liquor inside a plastic zipping freezer bag, completely submerging the oysters. If the liquor is insufficient, add water but keep a half-inch of air within the bag.
- To thaw the frozen oysters properly, move them from the freezer to the fridge to thaw for around an entire day.
- As soon as the oysters are defrosted, cook the oysters within the day to avoid any degradation in quality.
- Do not refreeze the oysters once they have been thawed. Discard any leftovers or unused oysters instead.
Add southern flair to your meal by having some deep-fried oysters. Best paired with tartar sauce, lemon juice, or hot sauce, these oysters will melt in your mouth and definitely make you crave for more.
These Oysters Baked with Herb Butter meal is a great addition to your staple holiday meals. Combining the strong flavors of herb and oyster, this recipe will surely serve as an effective appetizer!
For a quick and easy oyster recipe, go with a simple oyster stew. You can never go wrong with one of the most popular seafood stews.