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?
- 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,
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.