Choosing Oysters | ChefSteps | PBS Food

Choosing Oysters



One day, a very long old time ago, a precocious prehistoric person smashed open an oyster shell and slurped up its slippery meat. And just like that, an age-spanning love affair was born. We humans can’t get enough of these delicately flavored sea creatures, and it’s always been that way. Oyster farming dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, after all. And to this day, a plate of ice-packed freshies—washed down with some carefully paired Champagne—starts off many a celebration; it’s an edible signal that the occasion is an important one and thus calls for the greatest consumable combo on the planet.

But as with all earthly delights, there’s a yin to this gustatory yang. Think of oysters as the bivalve equivalent of the little girl in Longfellow’s poem—when they are good, they are very, very good. And when they are bad, they are horrid. But if fear of a bad one has kept your bivalve yen at bay, well, then this is your lucky day. Because when you know what to look for, you are almost guaranteed to avoid any half-shell horrors. To that end, we have enlisted Marco Pinchot—a true mollusk master—to show you everything you need to know about picking the best, every time. He’s an expert on sustainability at Taylor Shellfish Farms, the world-renowned shellfish cultivator based in Washington State.


And Pinchot’s lessons are not the sole purview of hardcore foraging types—these tips will come in handy whether you’re perched at the raw bar, shopping at the farmer’s market, or dragging a shovel along a rocky stretch of Puget Sound sand. So go ahead and school yourself on all things oyster—your newfound knowledge is sure to pay off over a lifetime of superior slurping.


logo-verticalChefSteps is here to make you a better cook. Drawing on our years of combined culinary experience, we create hands-on online classes and original recipes that are both informative and entertaining. We don’t tell you how to sharpen your knife or make macarons from scratch, we show you. Whether you’re a home cook, a professional chef, or just love watching cooks work, we can help you cook smarter.

You Might Also Like

Getting Hungry?

Sign up for weekly recipes