How To Clean Oysters: Get The Most Out Of Your Favorite Shellfish Product

Oysters fall under the seafood and shellfish category but they actually belong to the family of scallops, mussels, and clams. They are considered the most expensive shellfish, thus treated as luxury food items. Oysters are sealed shut when you buy them from the market but you’ll be surprised to see sand inside the shells once you crack them open.

How To Clean Oysters

If you are curious on how to clean oysters when you prepare it for a meal, this post is for you. You will find here a lot of ways on how to clean it without compromising the nutrients and flavor it provides. Cleaning oysters is a very easy task and you will get to enjoy your favorite shellfish product in no time.

What You Will Need To Clean Oysters

What You Will Need To Clean Oysters
  • Oysters
  • Knife
  • Wet towel
  • Rubber gloves
  • Running clean water
  • Brush

Step-by-step Instructions On How To Clean Oysters

Step-by-step Instructions On How To Clean Oysters

Once you have gathered all the necessary requirements on how to clean oysters, you have to remember to wash your hands clean first, as you are now handling food. Observing proper hygiene and cleanliness while preparing food will come a long way into ensuring that your health will not be compromised.

  1. Refrigerate your oysters for up to two days immediately after going home from the market. Cover them properly with a wet kitchen towel and make sure there is enough circulating air so that the oysters will not die. It is also not recommended that you place them on a bed of ice as anything that contains fresh water will kill them.
  2. To clean the outer shells, place them in a colander. Rinse them under a stream of running cold water and you have to scrub brush each shell to remove any dirt or debris.
  3. It should be noted that you have to pay attention on the creases, where debris buildup can occur and may slip inside its shell. To add, if you see any opened shells, you have to discard them. It is a possibility that these oysters have died during storage and may cause you harm.
  4. Hold the oysters on one hand while you open the shell with the other. You may want to wear a protective glove to protect your hands while doing this.
  5. Another way to do this is to prepare a clean towel where you can place the cleaned oysters. You may use another hand towel that will hold the oyster properly as you prepare to crack it open.
  6. You have to find the shell’s hinge. If you are not yet familiar, it is the meeting point of the top and bottom sides of the oyster shell. This is the position where you will have to insert the oyster knife.
  7. To open the oyster’s shell, insert the tip of the knife into the hinge. You have to jiggle the sharp end by slightly rotating your hand back and forth. It is also necessary that you apply enough pressure to crack the shell.
  8. The next step is to loosen the oyster from the shell. You have to slide the sharp end of the knife between the flat side of the shell and the body. Doing this will slice the muscle that serves as the attachment of the shell to the oyster.
  9. Remove the flat side and repeat this process on the other side of the shell.
  10. You have to remember to not let any liquid from the oyster spill as they contain most of the meat’s flavor.
  11. You can serve this raw oyster immediately if you wish to or you can check recipes online where you can add seasonings to them.
  12. It should be noted that the oyster’s lifespan is rather short and you have to consume them immediately or within two hours. Not doing so will result to food spoilage and may cause food poisoning.

On their own, oysters count as the perfect food. You can just pick them straight from the ocean, shuck them, and slurp them down even without cooking. It is said that their briny and sweet flavor would not need any seasonings. If you wish to get sand out of the oysters, here’s what you should follow:

  1. Running cold water is required to do this task. Place the oysters under a stream of running cold water and gently scrub the shells with a small brush to get the sands off the shells.
  2. Place the cleaned oyster shells in a bowl filled with at least a gallon of fresh water and one-third cup of salt.
  3. Let the oysters soak for at least 20 minutes. The oysters will go through the process of cycling the water in their systems, thus cleaning themselves and will result to expulsion of sand.
  4. Repeat this process for at least two more times. Make sure that new and clean water is used every time you do this step.
  5. You may now remove the oysters from the bowl.
  6. Remove the water and rinse before you serve it.

If you wish to see a video tutorial on how to clean oysters, click the link below:

Pro Tips

If you are an enthusiast yourself, you already know that there are a lot of ways on how to enjoy lobster. In order to get the most out of your oysters, below are some suggestions to may want to consider:

clean oysters
  • It would be best to buy oysters from the supermarket. It is also said that supermarkets take good care of these oysters and they treat them with care.
  • Oysters need to be kept cold, especially if you wish to store them for later consumption. This will also ensure that they will be kept alive until the moment comes that you prepare them for cooking or eating.
  • Apart from being delicious and flavorful food item, oysters are also rich with health benefits. It can make you feel good, as well as keep your energy high. It can boost one’s sex drive because of the zinc component and it ups a person’s immune system. Lastly, it can get rid of acne and make your bones stronger.
  • Neglecting to refrigerate oysters will result to spoilage and bad smell.
  • Use an oyster glove or a towel when it is time to shuck the oysters.
  • Wearing gloves is mandatory as you are handling a sharp object.
  • It is important that you clean the oysters right before you serve them. This will ensure that the oysters will be served as fresh as possible and it will be free from any kind of debris.


Doing this task is very easy as long as you have the necessary materials. Knowing how to clean oysters will guarantee that you will only be eating them fresh and clean. Observing proper food handling will also ensure that you will not spoil a fresh batch of oysters that you and your family will definitely enjoy.

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