A briny oyster slurped raw off the half shell with just a squeeze of lemon (or perhaps a drizzle of mignonette) can bring you to the seaside in seconds. But whether you like them fresh off the ice, still smoking from the grill, brimming with stuffing, suspended in a creamy bowl of chowder, or breaded, fried, and tucked into a sandwich, the arrival of October means more than just the starting line of oyster season.
October is also National Sustainable Seafood month. Considering the toll that marine wildlife has endured in the US, between the natural disasters and the ecological impact from decades of oil spills and overharvesting, we can’t be sure that our grandchildren will get to know the unmistakable flavor of oysters that we have come to love. Helping to maintain the balance of the seas doesn’t necessarily mean you should dig out your rubber boots and wade thigh-high into the water to get a closer perspective, but we can all make conscious choices this season to play our part in the conservation effort.
The greatest thing you can do to lend a hand is to support sustainable seafood culture by eating local whenever possible and supporting aquaculture farming that uses sustainable practices.
Farmed oysters are a great choice, not only because they reduce the fishing pressure on wild populations, but also because oysters actually improve the water quality of their habitat with their self sustaining filter-feeding.
Try some different ways to enjoy these half-shell delights. If you’re a fan of summer barbecues, try your fall oysters charbroiled and heaped with a mixture of garlic butter, parmesan, and breadcrumbs.
If you’re an adventurous eater and like mixing booze and food, try oyster shooters! They’re usually made with a single oyster in a shot glass accompanied with bloody mary mix, horseradish, cocktail sauce, and vodka.
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