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Nov 10, 2009 10:35 AM

oyster shelf life

How long will freshly shucked oysters keep. I can get some tomorrow that were in the ocean today. If I shuck them tomorrow how long will they last in the fridge?

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  1. Do not shuck them. Lay the whole oysters on top of crushed ice in a large container, cover, and put in the fridge. Drain off water and add more ice as needed each day (very important not to end up with oysters submerged in fresh water). If they really came out of the ocean today they should last a week. If you shuck them you should eat or cook them immediately.

    1. I agree, don't shuck them. The key to oyster shelf life is keeping them alive, once they die they're not that great within a few hours (at least not to eat raw on the half shell). When you shuck them, they're dead, so you're dealing with how long you can keep a dead oyster tasting good. A live oyster will taste reasonably good (saltier, more metallic etc. as time goes on but still good) once you shuck and serve it.

      The best way to keep oysters alive is to arrange them cup side down in a basket (so that if they open the juices stay in the oyster) and keep them really cold. Put the ice on top of the oysters, and put the basket over a pan so the bottom of the basket is raised about the level of the ice melt. The ice doesn't have to be crushed. Drain the pan and put more ice every day. They should keep for at least a few days, up to a week or more depending on the species. If they gape open and won't close when you pick them up they're dead, not safe to eat, throw them out.

      1. The shucked oysters I buy come from Galveston Bay, and they have a shucked on/ sell by date. The sell by date is usually about two weeks after the shucked on date.

        2 Replies
        1. re: James Cristinian

          It's probably pasturized so it keeps longer. Oysters you shuck yourself don't keep for two weeks. And I wouldn't ever eat pre-shucked oysters you buy by the quart raw, they're fine cooked but I assumed the OP's question referred to eating them raw.

          If you're planning to cook them, you can keep oysters you shuck yourself maybe up to a week, but you can also freeze them so they keep longer, I've done it for up to a couple of months and they're fine.

          1. re: hsk

            I have to respectively disagree on several points. These oysters are not pasteurized, those are disgusting and I've only had them by accident. They do keep for up to two weeks, I buy them in Houston from a major seafood wholesaler, (Louisiana Foods), they have a shucked on and sell by date. I will eat raw oysters I buy by the quart, usually only a few, and they are quite delicious. I only eat raw oysters of any kind in the winter, when they are at their peak. I have some friends that take the one hour drive to Galveston to buy a gallon of oysters, and the gallon usually doesn't survive the trip home. Pre-shucked oysters won't hurt you if handled properly, these guys have been doing this for thirty years. I've never frozen an oyster, if I have more than I want for frying or grilling, I'll eat them leftover or buy enough to make a nice little oyster creole I do.