Oysters are exotic, bizarre, sexy, provocative. No matter exactly how you feel about them, yes sir a an excellent chance castle compel you come ask a question or two.

I nothing know around you guys, yet I Google a the majority of weird stuff. Sometimes, a an easy answer comes up immediately. Various other times, not so much. I thought it could be advantageous to provide some straightforward (and caveated) answers to all of your most wondered-about oyster queries. So as soon as the following time when someone asks about oysters, you can drop some impressive knowledge on them.

You are watching: Do oysters have poop in them

Oh, and also don’t forget the basics. That’s what the Oyster 101 is here for!

Disclaimer: a couple of mightbe a small “TMI” for the casual oyster eater,so uhhh please check out with caution. Ignorance can be bliss!


What do oysters eat?

Do oysters poop?

Are oysters really aphrodisiacs?

Why is mine oyster green?

Are oysters quiet alive when I eat them?

Do oysters feeling pain?

Is it for sure to eat oysters throughout months there is no the letter R?

How deserve to you phone call if one oyster has gone bad?

There’s a small crab in my oyster… is that normal??

There’s a creepy-looking worm in my oyster… is the normal??

Can friend recycle oyster shells?


What do oysters eat?


Oysters eatphytoplanktonor small bits of birds suspended in the water. Theyarefilter feeders, which method that they acquire their food byfiltering water in and over their gills. Adult Virginica oysters have the right to filter up to 50 gallons that water per day. Occasionally they’re described as bottom feeders ordetritivores, yet don’t turn your sleep up at them since of that.

To show their fascinating ability, right here isa time-lapse that oysters in filtering action.


THE totality TRUTH

So now you’re most likely thinking… if oysters space equal chance eaters, and also they’re in water that’s complete of “nutrients,” thennnn no we just all eat crap?

Well, the is why you still can’t order brand-new York harbor oysters right now, and additionally why we seriously require toprotect our watersfrom coming to be even an ext mucked up. The Clean Water Act has really aided improve water high quality in new York Harbor and elsewhere in the U.S., however we’ve still acquired a long means to go.

Oysters room voracious vegetarians, but reasonably picky around what castle nosh on. Despite the lack of a brain, oysters “know” what lock can and cannot digest.Bob Rheault, executive Director the the East shore Shellfish Growers Associationelaborates, “Even together a dust-speck sized larvae they carry out this. The oyster sorts identically-sized algal corpuscle (say Isochrysis and also Chlorella) v 90% efficiency, even when combined with a soup of thick silt. The Isochrysis goes into the gut and also the Chlorella and also silt goes right into the pseudofeces (rendering that bright green!). I have done this with radiotracers and also the degree of effectiveness is remarkable. It is one reason why the American oyster is so adaptable and can make it through in high silt loaded waters while plenty of other organisms struggle and also suffocate through fouled gills.”

WHAT I want TO find OUT

Knowing thatoysters taste prefer where castle from—everything in the environment has one impact—my continuing question is justhowdo specific algaes or water compositionaffectthe taste, and is there a science-based way to measure it? If you’re working on this form of research, please get in touch with me!!

Do oysters poop?

THE straightforward TRUTH

Yes, correct they do. Oystersexpel bothrealpoop ANDpseudofeces, which are particles that non-food points in your food.

THE “YOU ASKED because that IT” TRUTH

SeeErin Byers Murray, author of “Shucked:Life on a new England Oyster Farm,”blog post about it.


When you Google “oysters” and “poop” together, the conversation takes on a depressingly misinformed, ignorant, fearful form. Some specifically one-sided, skewed articles by fairly prominent publicationsaren’t helping the cause. Ns mean, have the right to someone just register oysterpoop.com and clear the air about the totality subject of oysters and also foodborne illness? the happens, however it no happen virtually as much as it does with other stuff we eat. I simply don’t know why the same civilization who cringe in ~ raw oysters space happily scarfing down mysterymeat indigenous sketchy rapid food joints.


Are oysters aphrodisiacs?


Probably not. Over there is limited scientific proof that support this claim, yet what we absence in science-based data, we human beings love to to fill in through anecdotal truth! Basically, if eating a dozen oysters get you in the mood, climate just speak to it a win.

How walk oysters obtain such an amorous reputation? blame the Romans, Casanova (who asserted to eat 50 oysters for breakfast every day and swore they were the factor for his world-famous libido), King Henry the IV, and cliché oyster marketing.

Oysters perform contain a nice high amount of zinc and also other good nutrients (vitamin B12, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins C, D, and E, iron, magnesium, and also selenium), i m sorry are essential in reproductive breakthrough and as whole health. A study released in 2005 found two amino acids, D-aspartic mountain (D-Asp) and also N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), in shellfish, choose oysters, that were shown—at the very least in animals—to increase testosterone production. So over there is that.

But to point out WebMD’s good post about aphrodisiacs, “No food has been scientifically proven to stimulate the person sex organs. However foods and also the act of eating can suggest sex come the mind, which subsequently can help stimulate desire in the body.”


Many that us probably unknowingly was introduced to the term aphrodisiac in grade institution while studying Greek mythology. Words is obtained from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexual love and also beauty. Sidebar: the Greek indigenous aphros means “foam,” and Hesiod relates in his Theogony that Aphrodite was born from the white foam developed by the severed vul of Uranus (Heaven), after ~ his son Cronus threw them right into the sea. Lovely.


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Why is mine oyster green?


If you come across an oyster with green-tinted gills, like the people as shown above, take into consideration yourself lucky.The greenish shade comes native Haslea ostrearia, a form of microalgaethat the oysters room eating.It’s no harmful come eat an oyster favor this, and in fact, it’s a new thatis extremely sought after. In France, theFine de Claire Verte oyster isconsidered to it is in a delicacyand command a greater price 보다 its “blanc” counterparts.You have the right to alsofind castle in USat random, but much more frequently in the winter once the blue diatoms are more abundant.


Oysters with environment-friendly gills tend to be hyped up as an “ultra-rare specialty”and marked up in price accordingly. Don’t autumn for it.

WHY A environment-friendly OYSTER yes, really INTRIGUES ME

According come aresearch studypublished in may 2014, scientists have actually proposed that the blue-green pigment discovered in Haslea algae, well-known asmarennine, has actually been uncovered to have an effective antioxidant, antibacterial and also antiviral properties. Probably the environment-friendly oyster is our super sexy superfood?


Are oysters still alive as soon as I eat them?


You don’t desire toeat a dead oyster, raw. Ideally, oysters must be kept alive rightup till the moment just before consumption. The heart is right alongside the bottom adductor muscle, so in many cases, separating the meat from the shell kills it.

That said, eating dead oysters no necessarily walk to do you sick. But from the minute anything dies, it begins to decompose. A few hours no going to carry out anything. A few days? Eh, ok pass.


A living, unshucked oyster will be fully closed up, choose a rock. Can’t reference it for working difficult to avoid ending up being your dinner. If the invoice of the oyster gapes open and doesn’t close with a couple of taps, it’s probably dead (or it can be really cold and also sleepy… so provide it a minute if you simply pulled them out of the fridge). If girlfriend bought a bag of freshly harvested oysters and also some space dead, they can still it is in cooked and also enjoyed. Just throw lock on thegrillorfry them up. Masterful shuckers will certainly toss out the dead ones long prior to they reach her platter. Sometimes, I will certainly poke in ~ the outer edges that the mantle v a fork tong to watch just just how “lively”they quiet are.

Some oyster nerds at company Insider to be fascinated through this and also decided to produce a video:

Random trivia: the French take quality assurance to the following level by leaving the bottom adductor muscle attached. This permits you to experience the freshest, most alive oyster together possible… however prepared to carry out some job-related (and acquire silently judged top top it).

Do oysters feeling pain?


It’s tho up for debate. Us don’t yes, really know.Somesaynowhile others sayyes. Indigenous an anatomical standpoint, oysters perform not have actually a mind or a centralnervous system,so that is not most likely that they would endure the human being inthe same method that other animals do. The said, it is unclear whether or no you require a brain in order come “feel” or procedure pain.

I inquiry Guinness civilization Record Oyster Shucker and also restaurateurPatrick McMurrayfor his thoughts.“My belief—as i am not a scientist—is the oysters feeling pain as lot as plants feeling pain. Pains is a viewed sense come us. Oysters carry out not have sensory perception or capability to sense. Oysters react— close as soon as touched, use cilia to relocate food corpuscle etc. Part plants react the same way—flowers open and also close, Venus Flytrap every se.”


This question seems to be in ~ the crux of another question: “Are oysters ok for vegans to eat?” I’m no a vegan, so i don’t really have an opinion ~ above this. Yet I really appreciate the dual-sided argument that theUnnatural Veganbrings come the table.

Is it safe to eat oysters during months without the letter R?


Yes, it absolutely is safe to eat life oysters during months without the letter “r” (e.g., May, June, July, August). If you’re in Australia and new Zealand, you’re most likely thinking that’s as soon as oysters are best!!!

So wherein did this idea come from?

Generally, most oyster gurus attribute this adage ago to a time before modern-day oyster agriculture technology, as soon as the repopulation the oysters solely depended on oysters in the wild. In the north hemisphere, oysters spent lot of their energy reproducing during the r-less, summer months. Throughout that time, it was best for harvesters to leave the the oysters alone come reseed the beds.


Some articles, prefer this brand-new York times piece, credits william Butler, one English medical professional to King James I, through stating, “The oyster is unseasonable and unwholesome in all months that have not the letter R in their name,” in 1599. However according to a 2017 brand-new York time article, the quote is also credited come Henry Buttes in an 1599 English cookbook, Dyets Drie Dinner. Luckily for you and me, Nigel Moore, one intrepid oyster enthusiast / history buff, composed an comprehensive blog post about this whole thing.


So currently you know that the R-month preeminence is the end of date and also out of touch with the realities of the oyster market today. Below are the two R rule that i follow: Refrigeration and also Regulation.

Refrigeration: don’t eat oysters the haven’t been maintained cold. The FDA recommends maintaining live shellfish below 40 levels F, especially in summer months once the hazard of vibrio expansion in the water is higher.

Regulation: Don’t eat arbitrarily oysters that you find on the beach, unless if it’s indigenous a designated to chat shellfish harvest zone. Also, nothing buy oysters from people or locations without appropriate documentation. To it is in extra conservative, very first check to watch if the company’s surname is noted on the FDA’s interstate Certified Shellfish Shippers List.

How deserve to you phone call if an oyster has actually gone bad?


Have you males heard the theegg test(good egg sink, bad eggs float)? ns wish there to be something as an easy as the to gauge the high quality of an oyster. There is no straightforwardway to tell, but you can train your senses to choose up red flags.I asked mine favoriteSF Oyster Nerd, Greg Babinecz to take a crack at this one in a few sentences. Greg, true come his oyster-nerdy-nature, couldn’t aid but send a considerable perspective on the matter.


If the open and does no close to the touch, litter it away*.

If that smells stronglysulfuric or rotten, litter it away.

If that is very dry and also has no juiciness to it, throw it away*.

*or compost.


Smell:Anything contempt afoul come your inherent sense of what smells right, I would say is finest to avoid. There space oysters that are naturally a little “funky,” and also are prized together such. But anything that strongly smells of rotten eggs, petrol, or fish tank gravel, simply light a match and toss that in the trash (outdoor trash, preferably). Part oysters will certainly have distinct “low tide” or metallic smells and are good, yet those room rare and also if you’re seeking those out, you’re most likely not a novice shucker.

Look:A good oyster looks plump, juicy, and also has a insight sheen come it. It merely looks fresh. Quite frequently you’ll open an oyster and also it will have a dried out, Jackson Pollock-esque splatter look come it. If castle still odor okay, they aren’t necessarily bad, they just aren’t good. Ideal use them for fried or BBQed oysters, or simply discard.

Taste:Several oysters i have shucked have actually passed the previous two tests, however then just taste favor they’re spoiled. It will certainly look great, odor fine, yet upon consumption, taste terrible. And there is a discernible difference in between a strong flavored oyster and also a negative one. Copper, musky, and also even short tide seasonings don’t typical it’s bad. A really noticeable absence of salinity and also a sulfuric-gaseous pop when bitten and also you’ll automatically know that bad. These rogue goblin oysters are the bane of numerous shuckers roughly the world.

Lastly, covering inspection:This should come first, yet not without understanding smell and look. A good rule for any type of bivalve is that if its covering is cracked, has holes, or is open and will no close to the touch, it’s ideal to stop (mussels and scallops are kind of an exception). An open bill that will certainly not close come the touch usually suggests the oyster is dead. Every oysters must be alive right prior to consumption, and eating a dead one deserve to be danger (see #4). Also if the smells and looks fine, but was open, I’d say ideal to avoid. I’ve definitely gambled top top some open up bivalves before and been okay, but it’s best to play the safe. However hey, it’s her stomach and also your dice to roll.

There’s a small crab in mine oyster… is the normal??


“Sure that normal; it’s called apea craband stays her entire life inside the oyster. The crab no hurt the oyster and it i will not ~ hurt you come eat both. In truth it’s an excellent luck to eat the pea crab. Enjoy!” that’s reassurance fromChris Ludford, grower ofPleasure home Oystersand full time fire boat captain because that Virginia Beach.

If you shuck your very own oysters, you’ll more than likely encounter one or two.Raw bar shuckerswill most most likely remove them for you prior to you also see them.


Not much. Salty choose the sea, and also the structure is prefer kind of prefer alfalfa sprouts. If eating them alive provides you squeamish, then pan fry them up with a dash that Old Bay.

ARE they IN all OYSTERS?

In mine experience, pea crabs room most common in Easternoysters native brackish water. In fact, I only recall see them inoysters indigenous the lengthy Island Sound and also inlets along the Chesapeake Bay. That doesn’t median they’re not in other places though! (I once discovered a pea crab in an ultra-briny phibìc Carolina oyster.)

Random fact: male pea crabs will move from oyster come oyster to execute “house calls,” when the ladies remain put.

There’s a creepy looking worm in mine oyster… is the normal??


Every time ns hang the end witha friend of mine fromLA (who’s no an oyster fan, however we acquire along anyway), he never fails to tell his story about that one time when he encountered amassive, horrendously big worm in his oyster, “like that wasDuneor something.” it’s a mental visual and also pretty unappetizing. Fortunately, it’s no abnormal or alien. The said,I don’t take photos of oyster worms so ns sharing aphoto native theEastern Shoreto assist relax girlfriend instead.

If you don’t desire to take my word because that it, here’s oyster farmerMatt GreggofForty phibìc Oyster Farms, who has encounteredhisfairshareofweirdness, on the subject: “Oysters have the right to be the perfect hold for numerous tiny maritime invertebrates, no one of which, come my knowledge are harmful to humans. Oysters that grow in muddy and lower salinity atmospheres tend come harbor one organism called abloodworm. If she squeamish (most oyster eaters are not), stick to ocean-grown oysters. Bloodworms can’t make it through those conditions.”

Can friend recycle oyster shells?


In many cases approximately the country, the shells that weleave behindat theraw bargo straight into the garbage, i m sorry is truly a damn shame. Oyster shells can be recycled and also repurposed because that a variety of things such aschicken feed booster,garden fertilizer,wedding decor, and most notably, as theperfectsubstrate for baby oysters to thrive on. Unfortunately,running a covering collection routine islogistically challengingand prettyexpensive. The possibility cost?One seaside villagein Chinahas placed a reclaimed value of around $3200 USD every ton of covering (for fertilizer and construction material.) the number would certainly be higherif you considered its restorative value ago into our environment.


The symbiotic relationship between atraditional oyster planterand theoyster shucking housecreates a closeup of the door loop system. The shells return to the oyster farmer together the base because that the following crop. Yet demand is beginning to swing in favor ofhalf covering consumption, which way we’re still to run on a nationwide shell deficit.

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WHAT ns HOPING THERE will certainly BE more OF

Oyster shell collection and also oyster restoration initiatives have actually been building momentum about the country, together as along the Chesapeake and the Gulf. I’m personally rooting for NYC’s very own oyster reconstruction & education and learning program.Pete Malinowski, executive, management Director ofBillion Oyster task explains:

“The vast majority of oyster shells generated in brand-new York City’s restaurants room packed right into plastic bags and also driven to points south to be landfilled. At billion Oyster Project, we require oyster shells for our reconstruction projects and work tough to recuperate as countless as we deserve to from restaurants. Best now, we room collecting shells indigenous 45 restaurants 4 days per week. We mean overone ton of shell per dayand space on monitor to collection 210 tons this year. The shells invest one year curing in ~ the NRG Arthur death Power plant in Staten Island. Once cured, we ar the shells in tanks through oyster larvae. The larvae set on the shells producing the swarm of oysters we use for reef building.”