Dish

Six things about oysters

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Getting in the mood
It’s been rumoured that Casanova ate 50 oysters for breakfast every day. Whether that’s true or not, oysters are widely considered to be an aphrodisiac due to their high zinc content. Zinc is believed to increase testosterone and improve sperm quality. The way in which oysters are consumed—there’s a lot of sucking and slurping—is also attributed to the potential of increased arousal. To each their own.

Cooking optional
Raw is the preferred method of consumption when it comes to oysters, as they are considered most nutritious in that state. They are also low in food energy: 12 of them pack only 110 kilocalories.

Store with caution
Oysters have a longer shelf life than most shell fish at four weeks, but they will have the best flavour when consumed fresh. For best results, oysters should be refrigerated out of water in 100-percent humidity. If oysters are stored in water, they will open, consume any oxygen available to them and die—oysters must be either eaten alive or cooked alive.

Ethical seafood
Some ethicists believe oysters are an acceptable food if consumers are concerned about animal rights because they lack a central nervous system and are generally harvested in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way.

Get your calcium
Oyster shells are a source of calcium carbonate, which may be found in certain dietary supplements.

Precious pearls
Pearl oysters are from a different family (Pteriidae) than true oysters (Ostreidae, the type that are edible). However, molluscs such as freshwater mussels are also capable of producing pearls of commercial value. V

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