Fresh store oysters should always smell fresh, without any ammonia or fishy smells. Freshly caught oysters should be kept at approximately 40 degrees C, and they should be kept in a dark glass container in a dark place. Fresh oyster should never be stored in plastic bags or in closed containers. Store them in their own oyster tank or pail with a tightly fitting lid. It is advisable to add a teaspoon of salt to the water in the pail daily.
When you are ready to store oysters, make sure that your hands are clean and dry before you begin. Warm soapy water is recommended. Before you add them to the refrigerator, cover the container with a damp towel, or a clean cloth. Place the oysters on a flat side out of the refrigerator to allow for air circulation around them.
It is not unusual to store oysters flat side down for a month or more. They will expand and the oyster may well pop up through the opening. Once you have removed the oyster from its original bag, store the seafood in a clean container. It is best to keep the oyster in an area that receives indirect light. It is ideal to keep it in the refrigerator for about three months at a time.
If you store oysters on a shelf for three months, then it is important to remove them once they reach their destination. The oyster will have used up its store of oxygen. Now, there is no longer sufficient atmosphere in which the shellfish can live. If you have oyster pots in your kitchen or a large, loosely packed container, then this is the best place to store the shellfish until you need them. Do not place fresh fish inside the pot, as it may suffocate.
To store oysters in the refrigerator, cover the shells with a damp cloth and tie with string. You can also use paper towels if you want to avoid washing up soap residue from the seafood. Once they are in a closed container, close the lid and place it in the cold water.
The next step to take when you want to store oysters within the freezer is to remove them from their bags or containers and allow for them to defrost. Once they have defrosted, seal them into their containers. Before consuming, ensure that the shells are dry. To ensure that they retain the moisture, add some water to the clams so they retain their shape. Freshwater clams are usually easier to preserve since they are soft and round, while saltwater shells are usually oval in shape.
If you are looking to store oysters alive, you can put them in a pail or container with their own lid. Seal them tightly, but allow enough room so they can breathe. If you want to eat them, let them come to room temperature slowly. The best way to do this is to leave them in their own saltwater tank so they are kept at an even moisture content.
When you are ready to use the stored fresh oysters, thaw them out slowly to bring out their flavor. When you want to use them, de-string the string and remove the oyster from its shell. Place the clams on a plate and allow them to drain slowly by lifting them out of the water. Remove the pearl and hold them upside down. This will encourage a natural draining process. Store your oyster pails in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them.
The easiest way to store oysters is in the freezer bag. This method works very well if you have a few oysters that you are planning to start harvesting right away. Most stores keep them in the freezer bag but some buy the bags and store them in the refrigerator for the purpose of harvesting right away. To thaw these oysters, put them in a pot with about two inches of water inside it. Turn on your blower, and turn the pot slowly so the water goes into the blower, then turn the vent fan on to circulate the water through the entire bag.
Once you have thawed your fresh oysters, you can start harvesting them. Again, place them in the freezer bag with about two inches of water in them. Again, de-string the string as best you can so there is no tangling when you want to pull them out of the bag. Put the oysters in a pot with about two inches of water inside it. Run the blower over the fresh oysters one at a time, trying to get all of the air out of the bag before you squeeze the neck of the oyster.
Hold the oyster firm with your hand, then open slightly. Squeeze the neck area gently, then hold it open slightly. You can now remove the fresh oysters out of the bag, holding them carefully so they don’t become lodged in any crevices of the bag. Put them in your refrigerator. And enjoy!