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Opening Up to Fresh Oysters in Seattle

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Here at Ivar’s, we give a lot of attention to clams. “Acres of attention,” you could say. That doesn’t mean we don’t love their close bivalvia relative, the oyster, any less.

The oyster holds a special place in our heart at all the Ivar’s locations. From Acres of Clams to our Seafood Bars, people all around Washington are slurping oysters with pride!

Still, there are a select few who are uncomfortable with the idea of preparing and consuming oysters. A recent study found that only 18.6% of Millennials and 21.4% of people in Generation X are able to shuck an oyster.  

We’d like to take this opportunity to give oysters a little publicity and maybe inspire you to prepare them in thesummer months ahead, or give them a try at your next visit to Ivar’s! So here are some well-known and less popular facts about oysters.

 

Oysters Have Their Own Silverware

You know a food has a serious legacy when it has its own serveware. There are steak knives, grapefruit spoons, Wonton soup spoons, salad forks, but the oyster has utensils all its own.

There’s the oyster shucking knife which is used to open the oyster shell. It usually has a short, thick blade which is perfect for prying oysters open. Most have a shield to prevent the user’s hand from sliding. Or for the novice, a good cut-resistant shucking glove is highly recommended.

There are even different versions of the oyster shucking knife. The French Oyster Knife, which is best suited for the oyster species common in France, is generally shorter and wider than oyster knives from America. In addition, there is the longer and narrower Providence Oyster Knife or the New Haven Oyster Knife, which has a short, thicker blade with dull edges and an upturned tip to pry open oysters with ease.

Don’ton’t forget about the oyster fork! This little guy is about four inches long and is used to detach the oyster from its shell to slurp down easily.

Any food that has multiple silverware devoted to its consumption must be taken seriously!

 

Did You Know the Oyster Capital of the World is Right Here in Washington?

Nearly two and a half hours southwest of Seattle lays a little town that’s very serious about its oysters. South Bend, Washington is known as the Oyster Capital of the World and it’s located on the Willapa River close to Willapa Bay.

South Bend does so much work for the oyster industry that 1 out of every 6 oysters eaten in the United States comes from Willapa Bay.

 

Oysters Will Taste Different from Different Places

Just like two of the same wine varietals that have distinct flavor profiles depending on where the grapes were grown, oysters of the same species will taste different depending on where they’re sourced... Since oysters filter the ocean to find food, they basically taste like the ocean from where they were harvested. Call it “oyster terroir.”

An oyster from South Bend is going to taste slightly different from those harvested from Port Townsend just because the oysters are filtering different water.

Differing levels of salinity, along with amount of plankton and minerals in water, can directly influence how the oyster tastes.

Who’s down for an oyster tasting tour and road trip?

 

Cultures from Around the World Enjoy Oysters

Human beings have been enjoying oysters since the ancient Roman Empire and they continue to be featured in grocery stores and restaurants worldwide from Seattle to Beijing. 

They are consumed raw, in stew, soup, fried, in pies (even pizza pie!), and so much more.

Oysters are nothing to fear. So whether you’re preparing oysters for a summer gathering at home, or enjoying a freshly shucked plate dining outdoors on our decks,  they should be shell-a-brated!