November 9, 2023Oysters are a Superfood!
November is Virginia Oyster Month and the VMPB would like to inform you about this superfood! Oysters have an amazing impact on the state of Virginia. The Jamestown colonists were taught how to catch and prepare oysters by the Indians native to the region, the process of tonging they learned from the natives is similar to the process still used today on the Chesapeake Bay. Knowledge of tonging helped the Jamestown colonists through their first hard winters. Virginia Oysters would rise from being seen as a survival food for the colonists to a delicacy enjoyed by people around the world. One of the reasons for this is the different taste profiles available in Virginia Oysters. Due to Virginia’s location fresh water from the mountains meets with saltwater from the Atlantic in the Chesapeake Bay, this creates eight different regions for Virginia Oysters to grow in. These regions all have different levels of salinity leading to different flavor profiles to suite everyone’s pallet.
Oysters are high in protein, low in fat, and a 3 ½ oz. serving of oysters contains only 69 calories! A quart of oysters has more protein than half the minimum daily requirement of iron and copper, half the iodine and one-tenth of the recommended amount of protein, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Oysters contain zinc and potassium, as well as vitamins A, B (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B-12, pantothenic acid), C, D, and G. Oysters also contain Omega-3, the cholesterol-reducing fatty acid found in fish. Virginia Oysters not only taste good but are also good for you!
There is an old belief that oysters are only good to eat during months that end in “R”, but thanks to strict state health department regulations and advances in refrigeration and transportation this is no longer the case, Virginia Oysters are good as well as safe to eat in any month of the year. All Virginia Oysters are harvested, processed, and shipped under ridged state and federal health requirements to ensure the highest possible quality. Virginia Oysters can be purchased live in the shell, frozen, or fresh-shucked. Shucked oysters are available by the half-pint, pint, quart, and gallon. Shucked raw oysters should be plump and have a clear, gray-colored liquor. Shelled oysters should have tightly shut shells or shells that shut quickly when tapped. Check the package or ask your retailer or restaurant representative where the oysters were harvested, you want to be sure you’re getting inspected oysters from Virginia, by doing so you are supporting Virginia Commercial Watermen and women.