Now that the weather is getting cooler (in the Northern Hemisphere anyway), it is oyster season again. Oysters are best eaten in cooler months, from September through April. There is a saying that we should not eat oysters in months that do not contain the letter "R" ie. May, June, July and August. It is not that oysters are poisonous or non-existent in summer month, they are simply using all their energy in reproducing, hence they tend to be skinny.
WHAT ARE THEY? Oysters are bi-valve mollusks that are found in saltwater or brackish environments. Oysters get their nutrients by filtering water (30-50 gallons per day per oyster), which makes them good for the environment.
TYPES: Although there are endless varieties we see in restaurants and fish markets such as Wellfleet and Bluepoint, all oysters come from only five species: Pacific, Kumamoto, European Flat/Belon, Atlantic and Olympia.
PEARLS: Oysters are not the only bi-valves that produce pearls. Clams and mussels can also make pearls but only very rarely. Oysters are broadly divided into 2 groups: true oysters and pearl oysters. The oysters that we eat are true oysters and do not produce pearls. The odds of finding a natural pearl in a wild oyster is 1 in 10,000.