Oyster Facts

Did you know…


Oysters are molluscs that are found mainly in the ocean.  There are over fifty species of oysters, of which some are edible.  Their shells are made of calcium, and this protects their soft bodies.

Oysters have the ability to change their sex—they can change from male to female as they have gonads that generate eggs as well as sperm.  Oyster larvae (baby oysters) are called “spats”.

Oysters have hearts that pump translucent blood as well as oxygen through their bodies.  They also have intestines, and their kidneys clean any impurities from their blood.

Oysters breathe breath like fish as they have both gills and mantle.  As the water passes through them, oxygen is removed and carbon monoxide is disposed of.

Oysters feed mainly on plankton and decayed plants, and can filter up to 120 litres of water per day.

By eating four medium oysters per day, you will get the daily recommended allowance of calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, phosphorous and zinc.  Oysters are also rich in vitamin A, C, D , B-12 and omega-3 fatty acids.

Oysters can be eaten in a variety of ways  -  raw, roasted, steamed, baked, boiled, braaied, poached or smoked.  The most common way in South Africa is raw with tabasco sauce, ground black pepper and fresh lemon.  People with low immune systems should not eat raw oysters as they do contain bacteria.

Once the oysters are eaten, their shells can be finely crushed to provide extra calcium in feed for ostriches and certain other bird species.

Pearls are formed when a foreign substance (like a grain of sand or piece of shell) gets trapped within the shell.  The oyster then covers the foreign matter with layers of calcium and protein, and with time, a pearl is created.

The ancient Romans believed that oysters enhanced ones love life.  Although they do contain high amounts of zinc  -  a deficiency of which has been linked to male impotency, there has been no scientific proof to support this belief.  High amounts of zinc are also known to increase energy levels.

When someone says “I am going to shuck an oyster” it means they are going to open an oyster.  The verb “to shuck”, meaning to remove the shell from the oyster, was first recorded in 1881.

Oysters R Us on tripadvisor

Oysters R Us on tripadvisor

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