Which Nutrients Are in Oysters?

You probably know (and love) that oysters can be eaten so many different ways. But did you know that they contain numerous nutrients and health benefits? Dazzle your friends with these health facts next time you indulge together.

Vitamin D

Since the sun is the most common source of vitamin D, those living in places with long, dark winters can get a fair dosage of vitamin D from oysters. In about four oysters—or 100 grams—you can get 80% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of vitamin D!

Vitamin D functions as a hormone rather than a traditional vitamin. It helps bone formation, boosts immunity, and can even help reduce inflammation. Through its relation with apoptosis, the vitamin also provides the body with anti-cancer properties.

Copper and Zinc

About four oysters can contain around 4.5mg of copper. This mineral plays a significant role to help keep organs, bones, and tissues healthy.

A single oyster contains 50% of the RDI for zinc. This mineral helps aid DNA and protein synthesis, boosting immunity in addition to general growth and development.

Vitamin B12

Oysters boast a substantial amount of vitamin B12—eating just four oysters gives you 324% of our RDI! Vitamin B12 helps in the formation of red blood cells, DNA synthesis, helps prevent anemia and congenital disabilities, and may reduce macular degeneration. It also plays a significant role in energy metabolism.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

About four oysters contain 672 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. When taken in high amounts, omega-3s can help reduce cardiovascular-related health issues. They also contain anti-inflammatory properties that help decrease the risk of contracting inflammatory-related conditions and diseases.

Not only can you enjoy oysters for their delicious flavor, but you can also receive numerous vitamins, minerals, and nutrients while indulging! Oysters XO offers mobile oyster catering services in major cities in the US and throughout the world. Contact us to book us at your next event.

Why Oyster Shells Should Get a Second Life

Before you throw out your empty oyster shells, consider saving them. Of all places, your garden can benefit from oyster shells as plants pull nutrients from them. Oyster shells are perfect for your soil because they have natural calcium and minerals that plant roots can absorb. You can purchase crushed oyster shells from most landscaping companies, or start saving them after your last seafood feast! Here’s how to best give them a second life in your garden.

Apply Shells to Your Garden

Late spring and early summer are the best times of year to add oyster shells to your mulch. Depending on how large your garden is, you can apply the crushed shells in thick layers. When using shells for garden plants, use between four to six pounds of crushed shells per every 100 square feet. Thick two-inch layers are recommended when using the oyster shells as mulch. Rember to always water your soil after adding the shells. The water makes sure the shells get rooted into the soil to support your plants.

Shells Help Soils and Crops

Because oyster shells have high amounts of calcium, they can help balance your soil pH levels. Shells also strengthen plant cell walls, improve nitrate uptake, and can help form enzymes in your soil. Leafy greens and vegetables will also have a greater growth rate and vitality with added oyster shells in the soil. The shells have a coarse build, which helps keep the soil compacted. This helps prevent plants from getting waterlogged. Oyster shells can even help prevent garden pests like moles and voles.

Use Shells For Compost

When you use oyster shells for compost, it will help balance the acidity levels in your soil. The shells add soil nutrients because they can become a habitat beneficial to microbes. If you’re using oyster shells from home, be sure to boil and break the shells into small gravel-like pieces. As you compost, you’ll need to mix carbon materials (twigs, dry leaves) with nitrogen material (food scraps, grass) before adding a layer of crushed shells. Mix in water and sift the pile several times per week. Once the shells aren’t visible in the soil, you can add the mixture to your garden.

Before you can use oyster shells in your garden, you’ll need tools to shuck! At Oysters XO, we offer mobile oyster shucking services and tools to help you better enjoy oysters. Whether you’re planning an oyster event or simply want to learn more about oysters, we can help! Contact us to learn more.

Why You Should Be Eating More Oysters

We all know oysters are delicious. But, they also offer a range of nutritional benefits, making them a perfect addition to a healthy, balanced diet. See how this luxurious and wonderfully simple food can help improve your quality of life.

Benefits to Your Physical Health

Oysters are proven to be a smart choice for a healthy heart. A study by the University of Washington showed that oysters could lower bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) while raising the good kind (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol). They also include all nine essential amino acids and many vital vitamins and nutrients, such as zinc, iron, selenium, calcium, and vitamins A, C, E, and B12. These vitamins are associated with building stronger bones and muscles while also helping to boost your immune system. On top of that, they are very low in calories and relatively high in protein—a half-dozen oysters contain about 45 calories, have less than 1.5 grams of fat, and provide a substantial 5 grams of protein. All you need to do is learn how to serve oysters properly, and then you’ll be on your way to staying healthy while looking classy.

Mental Health Benefits

While salmon may get all of the praise for its richness in omega-3 fatty acids, oysters shouldn’t be overlooked. According to a study found in the medical journal Lipids in Health and Disease, there is a significant link between omega-3 fatty acids and decreased symptoms of chronic depression. Some studies also examined the relationship between eating oysters and a reduction in stress levels and inflammation.

Need another reason to feel good about eating oysters? When you’re eating oysters, you’re not only supporting your health but also the health of the environment. Oysters are both abundant and natural filters for our ocean. Also, modern catching and farming techniques are done so in environmentally friendly ways so that their habitats can continue to thrive. Oyster shells are also an excellent mulching option to help your garden thrive due to the high calcium content that can help your soil.

All of these amazing benefits are why Oysters XO loves providing the elegant and healthy option of fresh oysters at any event. See how you can offer these health benefits to you or your guests at your next event. We also have all the shucking tools you’ll need if you want to have an oyster soirée at home.

Does Eating More Oysters Help the Environment?

Whether you eat your oysters Rockefeller style or with a simple squeeze of lemon, it’s hard to deny that this modest mollusk has stayed a staple of seafood consumption throughout history. As consumers increasingly evaluate their food beyond how it tastes, though, many question the effect oysters have on the environment at large. If you’re a fan of these shelled creatures, don’t worry—oysters yield several benefits to the waters in which they grow and the people who eat them.

Oysters and Water Filtration

According to the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, oysters play no small part in filtering farms’ waterways. Not only do they remove excess nitrogen and carbon dioxide, but they also feast on algae and “repackage” unwanted inorganic sediments into harmless bits on the water floor. Thanks to the extensive efforts of these creatures—an adult can filter as much as 50 gallons a day—this also contributes to a cleaner environment for other aquatic life without affecting taste or nutrition.

Better Water Systems and Conservation

Oysters still end up healthier in quality water, however, which puts the onus on farmers to ensure their waterways are in pristine condition. Furthermore, farmers are encouraged to monitor their oysters’ conditions and be proactive about preventing pollution-producing industries from gaining access to these ecosystems. That said, while oyster farming requires careful planning and due diligence, you might be surprised to learn the oysters themselves are neither needy nor greedy. Beyond some algae in the early stages of their lives, they require no feed; they don’t produce waste or greenhouse gases, either—removing harmful emissions from the equation.

Protecting the Wild Population

Simply put, eating farmed oysters allows wild oysters the opportunity to replenish and recover from overfishing. According to the NOAA, overfishing and other man-made threats have devastated the natural population but are being combated by the rise of oyster farms and hatcheries. The more you turn to responsibly-raised oysters, the higher chance these powerful animals have of surviving in the wild.

The next time you reach for a cold one on the half-shell, you can feel at ease knowing these prized mollusks are making a difference. Though there are still steps to take, eating oysters promotes a cleaner environment and healthier populations for many marine creatures. Ready to try your hand at a dozen (or more) for an event or at-home party? Oysters XO can create a luxury catering experience for your next event. Contact us today to get started.

Oysters Vs. Clams: What’s the Difference?

Oysters and clams are both bivalves, which is to say edible mollusks enclosed in a two-sided shell, and although they have a lot in common, there is plenty that sets these two delicacies apart. For starters, diners can identify an oyster from a clam based on appearance alone. Oysters have irregular shells, and clams have smooth shells. While both are commonly served in coastal communities, oysters are typically more sought after. The following other differences may explain why oysters tend to be more popular than clams.

Differences in Habitats

While oysters are found on both the east and west coasts, their habitats can alter their taste. Oysters are often found in more brackish and marine habitats as they are found in saltwater and grow in clusters called oyster beds or reefs. Oysters also typically attach to hard surfaces, such as piers or rocks, and are common in North America, Europe, Asia, and New Zealand. Clams can usually be found in salt marshes along the Atlantic Ocean in North America, although some live in the Pacific Ocean and freshwater.

Differences in Flavor

While both clams and oysters taste fresh and salty, they each have unique flavors. Clams are known for having a briny and pungent taste, while oysters have a smooth and buttery taste. While eating them, diners might notice that clams are chewier than oysters, while oysters can easily be slurped down.

Differences in Nutritional Value

Both of these bivalves are strong in their nutritional value, which is a positive no matter which one is preferred. Clams and oysters are both low in fat and calories while offering plenty of vitamin B12 and protein. Oyster nutrition is rich in phosphorus, zinc, and potassium, while clams offer manganese, vitamin C, selenium, and iron.

Differences in How They Are Eaten

Clams are typically used as part of a greater dish, like being incorporated within a New England clam chowder. Compared to many other foods, oysters are eaten in a unique way. While everyone can dine on these delicacies however they choose, there is no best way to eat oysters, whether raw, baked, fried, or grilled.

If you’re ready to taste the difference and start shucking oysters yourself, the professionals at Oysters XO are prepared to help teach you how. Oysters XO offers cooking classes, catering, and live oyster-shucking experiences at parties and events. Contact us to learn how we can bring the flavors of oysters to you.

The 19th Century Oyster Boom in America

Oysters were an American favorite long before happy hours stepped into the spotlight. In the 1800s, oysters were enjoyed in cities large and small at an astonishing rate. In fact, New Yorkers gulped an average of 600 oysters per year during this time! However, since the 1990s, American oyster consumption has steadily declined, which begs the question: why were oysters so popular in the 19th century?

An Oyster Abundance

The 20th century featured plentiful amounts of oysters on the east coast. This region was an oyster lover’s paradise, and having them readily available made these bivalves a staple of culinary culture. As fishermen graduated from collecting them by hand to large dredges, or mesh bags, locals were gifted with a massive supply.

A Reasonable Price Point

As you can imagine, widespread oyster availability allowed these delicacies to be surprisingly cheap, which made them even more popular. At this time, both rich and poor households could consume oysters due to the exceptional harvests collected from the Chesapeake Bay. Oysters don’t keep for long, so locals ate their hearts out as fishermen brought in massive catches that needed to be eaten before spoiling. As advances in technology blossomed, namely in transportation and food distribution, the oyster craze spread far and wide.

The Trend of the Times

Not only did Americans get creative with their seafood—frying, broiling, and steaming it—but they enjoyed this classic Northeastern fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Townspeople could drop by their local saloon or parlor and wash down dozens of oysters with a beer or cocktail for a great price. As it became easier to distribute harvests from the Chesapeake Bay to other large cities like Chicago and St. Louis via railroad, oyster lunchrooms and parlors began to pop up all over, much further inland. Dinner parties and social gatherings often featured oysters to the delight of guests and partygoers, and the trend was further fueled by increased demand.

Feel like cooking up a 21st-century oyster craze with friends and family? Oysters XO can shuck up a luxury catering experience to entertain guests at your next soiree or party. Contact us to learn more about booking a personalized, live oyster-shucking experience at your next event.

The Five Best Sauces to Pair With Your Oysters

Whether you’re hosting a virtual party with friends or enjoying a date night at home with your special someone, oysters are the perfect choice for having an exciting, memorable occasion. Once you’ve mastered how to shuck oysters and have decided on the best drink pairings, you can take these delicious bivalves to the next level by eating them with a few delightful yet simple sauces.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice on an oyster is an easy way to enhance its natural briny flavor. Think of this as the purist’s version of an oyster sauce. Just a dash of lemon juice lets you appreciate all of the oyster’s flavors by complementing and enhancing them. All you need to do is squeeze a fresh lemon or lime wedge over your freshly shucked oysters and slurp.

Cocktail Sauce

Think shrimp cocktails are a little too old school? Well, how about adding a twist by pairing cocktail sauce with freshly shucked oysters? Here’s a starter recipe for an oyster cocktail sauce that you can make on your own:

Ingredients

1/2 cup of ketchup
2 tablespoons of horseradish
1 dash of Worcestershire sauce
Juice of 1 lemon/lime
Tabasco sauce, to taste

Method

1. In small bowl, combine/mix ketchup, horseradish, a dash of Worcestershire, a squirt of lemon, and a dash of Tabasco
2. Chill and serve

Mignonette Sauce

This sauce may sound fancy, but it’s easy to make and incredibly delicious. You probably have most or all of the ingredients in your pantry already. For oyster newbies, it’s a great choice if you aren’t used to the texture of oysters. All it takes is red or white wine vinegar (sherry or Prosecco vinegar works well too) and some shallots. Pour the combination over a freshly shucked oyster and enjoy. Here’s our mignonette sauce recipe:

Ingredients

1/2 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) minced shallots/red onions
1/2 cup of white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, or Prosecco vinegar
1/8 teaspoon of sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon of finely crushed black peppercorns (do not use pre-ground or powdered pepper)

Method

1. Put all of the ingredients together in a non-reactive (glass or pyrex) bowl
2. Cover with lid or plastic wrap
3. Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of four hours. For the best results, store your mignonette for at least two days before using it. It will last up to one month in the refrigerator.

NOTE: Usually the mignonette sauce is served in a small bowl with a small spoon, alongside the oysters on a platter. You can scoop a small amount of the mignonette (⅛ tsp or so) onto the oyster before eating.

Horseradish “Sauce”

If you can, skip the prepared horseradish and seek out fresh horseradish root. For this garnish, simply peel the rough, barklike exterior of the root with a knife or vegetable peeler. Then, grate the fresh horseradish over freshly shucked oysters and enjoy the extra little kick it gives them.

Pesto Sauce

You might be surprised to see pesto on this list, but it has a rich, striking flavor that pairs well with oysters. Plus, it’ll be an interesting talking point because everyone will ask you about how you thought of using pesto. Try out this recipe for your sauce:

Ingredients

2 cups of fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons of pine nuts or walnuts
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
Dash of fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup of olive oil
Salt to taste

Method

1. Combine basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, and lemon juice together in a food processor
2. Pulse until finely minced
3. With food processor on low, slowly pour in olive oil until desired consistency is reached
4. Mix in salt to taste
5. Chill and serve

NOTE: Serve in a small bowl with a small spoon, alongside the oysters on a platter. You can scoop a small amount of the pesto (⅛ tsp or so) onto the oyster before eating.

No matter which sauces you use, you and your friends will love these mouthwatering recipes. If you’re ready to start shucking oysters yourself or want someone to shuck them for you, book catering with Oysters XO today. We also offer online cooking classes so that you can learn new party tricks, even if we can’t be hosting parties due to social distancing. Contact us to learn more.