Oysters can be purchased opened (shucked) in the half-shell or closed. Closed live oysters have a longer shelf-life. If purchasing opened oysters look at the meat and shell qualities, the oyster should appear similar to this:

Angasi oysters have a lingering distinctive taste of the sea, prized by oyster lovers. Likewise Pacific oysters have their unique and somewhat delicate flavour, which differs from bay to bay. Both oysters can be served freshly shucked or lightly cooked.

If purchasing live oysters, get them as close to harvest date as possible, our oysters are best eaten before one week from harvest.  They are best opened just before serving.

Care of  Your Oysters

  1. Refrigerate @ 4-5 degC
  2. Store in a bowl, with the flat  “top-shell”  uppermost,  to keep the cupped shell retaining the liquor in case the oyster opens briefly at any stage
  3. Cover with a clean, well rinsed, damp tea-towel to prevent them  opening  and drying out

During storage

  1. Oysters taken out of the fridge must not be returned to the fridge once  they have lost their chill
  2. If oysters  gape open  it is important to check they are alive, by gently tapping their flat shell or squeezing their shells together to see that they remain closed. Discard them if they do not hold closed
  3. Best before 7 days from harvest date stored as above. When shucked/opened they may be stored in the fridge to be consumed within a short time and should be discarded if not eaten within a day.

See Video gallery for a demonstration on shucking angasi oysters.

Click Restaurants and Outlets to see where they are available. 

The angasi oyster is a higher priced oyster than the Pacific oyster as it takes more than twice as long to grow and needs more attention to prepare it for market.


Oysters Available In Australia

Globally Pacific oysters are the most widely consumed oyster.  The Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) grown in Australia are native to south east Asia. The two main species of native oysters in Australia are Sydney rock (Saccostrea glomerata) and angasi (Ostrea angasi). These native oysters have different characteristics. Both are uniquely full flavoured slow growing oysters taking 3 to 4 years to reach market. Sydney rock oysters broadcast spawn (like Pacific oysters) with fertilisation occurring in the water, whereas angasi oysters brood larvae within, releasing spat (larvae seed) into the surrounding waters. Sydney rocks thrive in the inter-tidal zone whereas the preferred habitat of the angasi is sub-tidal to deep waters.

In Australia oysters are predominantly produced by off-bottom aquaculture with a small number entering the market as a result of by-catch from dredge fisheries and the like. The Oyster Province oysters are grown in the top 4m of 10m deep water.


Food Safety And Quality Assurance Program

In Australia shellfish producers are required by law to follow a Food Safety Management Plan to ensure oysters delivered to market are food safe. Each grower’s Food Safety Management Plan is independently audited annually and growers have to gain Department of Primary Industry Accreditation annually. Part of the Quality Assurance Program is carried out by Public Health  laboratories (PHLab) which test shellfish samples weekly from the harvest bay and conduct  scientific water quality monitoring.

From time to time there are naturally occurring toxic algal blooms that do not adversely affect the shellfish but can over weeks become concentrated in the shellfish and potentially have harmful health implications for the consumer. The weekly laboratory tests detect low levels of these biotoxins and will close the lease for harvest prior to significant toxin build up and do not reopen the harvest area until the shellfish have cleared the toxin and are once again safe to consume.  Presence of the toxic algaes in the area is usually transient and the shellfish become safe to consume again within a week or so, which is confirmed by the PHLab tests. Heavy rainfall events can also affect water quality, reducing salinity and raising E. coli levels. Shellfish growers supply the water and meat samples to the scientists, at the Public Health Laboratory, who in turn inform the growers and ShellMAP (our local Tasmanian shellfish quality assurance authority) of the results and they declare the marine farm as OPEN or CLOSED  for harvest according to the test results.

For example: A rainfall event such as outlined in this graph caused the farm to be closed for harvest.  In this case the lease was closed for harvest prior to the bottom of the spike. Following closure, the lease will not reopen for harvest until the Public Health Laboratory analysis of oyster meat samples declare the oysters are safe to consume.

Warning – Eating Shellfish Off The Rocks at the Beach is Not Safe

Toxic algal species may be present in an area where wild shellfish are apparently thriving. Likewise heavy rainfall can pose a health risk. Just looking good to eat unfortunately is no guarantee of their safety.