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Seafood lovers are often confused when deciding what are the best months for oysters. If you have ever heard of the oyster “R” rule, you may scratch your head when seeing single fried oysters on menus throughout the year. There are a few factors why the oyster “R” rule came to be in the first place, some you can ignore and others you may want to know more about.
What are the best months for oysters?
Eat raw oysters only in months containing the letter “r”, has been the accepted law of the land for as long as I can remember. The rule comes from the days before refrigeration when oysters were susceptible to spoilage. Oysters are now available all year, but it’s still important to know when they’re in season and where to find the best-tasting oysters that won’t make you sick.
Oysters spawn throughout the warm summer months, usually from May to August, though due to the warm water in the Gulf of Mexico, oysters spawn all year. They become fatty, watery, soft, and less flavorful during the spawning season. In the winter months, shucked oysters have a more attractive lean, firm texture and vivid salty flavor.
When is oyster season in Maryland?
The oyster season runs from October 1 through March 31. Harvesting Methods: A person may catch oysters recreationally only by hand, rake, shaft tong, or diving with or without scuba equipment. Also, a resident may not catch oysters recreationally while on the boat of someone who is catching oysters commercially.
The recreational harvest of oysters in Maryland does not require a license or permit, but you must be a resident of the State. A Maryland resident may take up to 100 oysters per day but the harvested oysters are only for personal, noncommercial use and cannot be sold. All of the oysters must all meet the minimum size requirement of 3″ as measured from hinge to bill. The oysters must be culled on the bar where they were caught and all undersized oysters and shell material must be returned to the bar.
source: Dept. of Natural Resources – Maryland
When is oyster season in Virginia?
The recreational oyster season is open from October 1 through and including March 31. For commercial harvesting, the open season for oysters can vary based on the body of water and location.
The state laws pertaining to the harvesting of oysters between Maryland and Virginia are very similar. Here is the site to learn more specifics of oyster harvesting in VA.
East coast vs west coast oysters
Oysters from the East Coast are smoother, with a larger cup and crisp meat that has a salty, savory flavor. West Coast oysters, on the other hand, have a ruffled shell with a deeper cup. The meat is sweet and substantial, with a little mineral taste.
Atlantic oysters, which have a firm texture and a strong, savory brininess, and European flats or Belon oysters, which are even brinier and have a more mineral flavor, are the two main varieties found on the East Coast.
Pacific oysters are sweet and creamy on the West Coast, while juicy Kumamoto oysters have a harder texture. The flavor of Olympia oysters is the mildest of the West Coast oysters.
Why are Chincoteague oysters so popular?
The Eastern Shore is famous for the oyster beds and clam shoals located throughout the area. Chincoteague oysters have a thick shell that ranges from white to green and is larger than ordinary oysters, measuring about 3.5 inches wide. Oyster enthusiasts like this delicacy because of its peculiar saltiness, which is flavored by the ocean’s salinity.
I hope you enjoyed our post, ‘Eastern Shore Apple Crisp’ Be sure to check out our other classic Delmarva recipes!