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Freezing Oysters

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Can I freeze shucked oysters?  How about oysters in the shell?

Mmmmm......! What better way be to overcome the winter blahs then to pull some oysters out of your freezer for a delicious oyster chowder?  During the fall months, oysters become more plentiful, so the prices will drop.  You can take advantage of this and buy some extra to freeze.  Shucked shellfish such as oysters, clams, or mussels can be frozen in rigid, air tight plastic containers.  Be sure the meats are covered with their liquor (liquid found inside the shell) and that there is at least 1/2 inch of space between the liquid and the container lid to allow for expansion.  If there is not enough liquor to cover the oyster meats, add a little water.  Shellfish frozen this way may be stored for three to four months.
Oysters may be frozen in their shells.  In fact, this is a great way to facilitate shucking oysters.  But keep in mind how much extra space the shell will take up in the freezer.  It is also wise to scrub the shell of excess mud and grit to avoid a drippy mess when you defrost the oysters.  Be sure to cook thawed oysters right away because freezing kills the oyster.   

Find some great oyster chowder recipes here.  Or if you're looking for a way to incorporate oysters into your holiday meal how about trying this oyster stuffing?   

Oyster Stuffing

  • 1 pint oysters
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups day-old bread cubes
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper           

Drain oysters, saving liquor, and chop.  Cook celery and onion in butter until tender.  Combine oysters, cooked vegetables, bread cubes, and seasonings, and mix thoroughly.  If stuffing seems dry, moisten with oyster liquor.  Makes enough for a four-pound chicken.

    For 10-15 lb. turkey  . . . . . .   3 times above recipe
    For 16-20 lb. turkey  . . . . . .   4 times above recipe
    For 21-25 lb. turkey  . . . . . .   5 times above recipe

About the Fishmonger

Doris Hicks, Seafood Technology Specialist, This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

Image As seafood specialist, for the University of Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service, Hicks works with both the seafood industry and consumers to develop educational programs about the proper way to handle, store, and prepare finfish and shellfish.  In addition to these outreach efforts, Hicks serves as a seafood safety instructor, providing training programs to seafood processors throughout the region. She also has conducted research with University of Delaware colleagues to explore new technologies for pasteurizing seafood.  Hicks received her bachelor's degree in food science from Rutgers University and her master's degree in food science and human nutrition from the University of Delaware.

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Mr
Bevin Shirley (Unregistered) 2011-11-04 23:24:57

Hi
I love oysters and have access to a regular supply! Pse help with info on freezing them.
Assuming any excess oysters are all live at the time and all dead ones have been removed and then quickly frozen and kept at -20deg Celsius, what must I watch out for? I hear scare stories about open frozen oysters. Once frozen, the animal dies. Surely the water content turns to ice that expands and could open the oyster's lid? Aeny guidance would be welcome. Rgds Bvin
pam (Publisher) 2011-11-07 12:38:37

Sorry I don't know but you could check with your local government agency that regulates fishing and oversees food safety issues...
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