It seems as though everyone is on an oyster kick, with raw bars cropping up in both coastal communities and major towns. According to Boston.com, the farmed oyster industry grew by $80 million between 2008 and 2014. Because of this, it has surpassed both the scallop and lobster fisheries to become New England’s third-most lucrative industry.
Oysters have been around since the Palaeozoic epoch, approximately 300 million years. Yet, they were not usually the recommended beginning course. Oysters were readily available and inexpensive during the 19th century.
Instead of using tongs to pick up seaweed by hand, people now drag mesh bags along the bottom of the ocean. Michigan State University explains this method. Oysters became so abundant due to this innovation that their costs dropped, making it possible for people from working-class families to enjoy them.
Best Type of Oysters
1. Blue Point Oyster
It has a crisp, saline flavor and is reminiscent of the ocean. Blue Point Oysters have a firm texture, and the aftertaste is mildly sweet. One of the farmed oysters available in their raw form all year round is grown commercially in New York and Connecticut.
2. Pacific Oysters
This is one of the most widely cultivated oysters in the world. It is a small, tasty oyster. They are gaining more and more followers, not just in Europe but also on the West Coast, where they are beginning to outcompete the indigenous Olympia.
3. Kumamoto Oysters
This type of oyster is known for its deep, almost bowl-shaped shells and sweet, almost nutty flavor. Kumamotos are small oysters. These can be found across Japan and the United States’ west coast; their shells are deeply fluted and sharply pointed.
4. European Flats
Flats from Europe have a shell that is smooth and flat, tastes like seaweed, and has a strong mineral aftertaste. They must be grown in the area of France called Brittany.
5. Royal Miyagi Oysters
It is somewhat sweet and kiwi-like, with modest brine. These oysters are Pacific Northwest oysters from a British Columbia oyster appellation on the Sunshine Coast on Vancouver Island.
What Distinguishes Wild Oyster Harvesting From Farmed?
There are several significant differences between farming fish in an aquarium and growing oysters for consumption. Oysters, unlike fish, do not need to be fed, and as a result, they do not contribute to the depletion of wild seafood populations. Conversely, oysters function more like sponges, soaking up and filtering minerals and nutrients from the water surrounding them without outside assistance.
Even in highly crowded beds, oysters do not produce trash or pollute the water with their presence. On the contrary, they take nitrogen out of the water and make it clearer, both of which are good for other plants and animals that live in the water. Farmers don’t use additional chemicals because they can only develop and thrive in clean conditions. So, they have strong reasons to keep the watershed in the area in good shape and not use extra chemicals in production.
Farm-raised oysters receive consistent feeding from the time they are born, reside in climate-controlled environments with little temperature variation, and receive attentive care from committed farmers so that they can develop robust shells. They develop quickly and are collected at their peak flavor.
Although wild oysters offer all of these benefits as well, you need to be very careful about the place from where you gather them because coastal waterways are often polluted. Dredging, destructive to the ecosystems that live on the bottom, is used to collect some wild oysters. Instead of harvesting natural oyster populations to extinction, allowing them to continue reproducing and establishing new oyster beds along our coastlines would be more beneficial.
Some people also think that farm-raised oysters taste better than wild oysters. Wild oysters that make it to adult size have defied the odds, as only approximately one in a million eggs will mature. But they have generally led a difficult life, as they have struggled to reach algae and nutrients buried deep within the muddy seafloor bottom.
Do Farm-Grown and Wild Oysters Taste Alike?
Oysters harvested from the wild require three years to reach their consumption size. The meat from wild oysters gathered in the summer loses its robust flavor because it is the time of year when the oysters multiply. On the other hand, oysters that have been farmed are sterile. They are delicious at any time of the year because they do not multiply. They also reach maturity more quickly; it takes only two years to reach the size at which they may be harvested.
The water in which an oyster grows is what gives it its flavor Hence, there is no discernible difference in flavor between farmed and wild oysters. The taste of an oyster, referred to as its merroir, is comparable to the terroir of wine. Both the salinity of the water and the quantity of time spent out of the water impact the flavor.
Oysters grow on lowlands or tidal plains, so they only spend a small part of their lives in water. Oysters grown commercially have been developed to have deeper shells to better store the flavoring liquid released when the oysters are eaten “on the half shell.” This results in a more uniform flavor profile in the farmed oysters.
Nowadays, there are thousands of farms worldwide that produce millions of pounds of oysters every year. Oysters can be grown on land or in tidal pools, but are usually grown on land because it is easier to control their environment than in tidal pools, which move with the tides.
Oysters are the most delicious and nutritious of all shellfish. They are low in calories, fat, and cholesterol and high in protein, zinc, and iron. Oysters contain many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, which helps the body produce red blood cells.
Oysters are also an excellent calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium source. These minerals help maintain strong bones and teeth and healthy muscles and nerves.
Farm-raised oysters are more consistent because the quality is controlled, the conditions are somewhat controlled, and they are harvested when their flavor and size are at their best. Oyster experts favor farm-raised oysters because of their consistency.
Farm-grown oysters taste differently. The origin of the oyster affects its size and flavor. Oysters from the same shoreline can taste salty, buttery, sweet, or coppery, depending on their location.
Oysters are a treat that should be part of a diet that focuses on eating healthy. Make sure you pick an oyster of the highest quality, regardless of whether you prefer wild or farmed oysters to eat.