How To Store Live Oysters
For those who do not have a refrigerator, store live oysters on ice in a bucket at room temperature. If they aren't to be eaten right away, freeze them in a single layer in an airtight container. Place them in a dark, cool place like a cooler. Cover the oysters with a wet towel or layers of wet newspaper. It is best to cover the oysters for at least one month before you are ready to use them.
Remove the clams and scallops from their bags. They should be in a ziplock bag in a dark, cool place. Wash all surfaces thoroughly with soap and water. Rinse them well and dry thoroughly. Store the fresh clam or scallop shells at room temperature to avoid spoilage. Before using them, carefully remove any brown or green ink from the shells.
To store live or frozen oysters, remove the skin and stems from the oysters. Do not throw the skin away, since it contains valuable nutrients. Also, remove the oyster meat, neck or gills, as well as any other detritus such as shells and ink. Clean the oyster shells thoroughly with an alcohol wipe or scrubbing sponge, then place them in a cleaned, dry bowl.
You can also store live oysters or shucked oysters in a shucked bottle. Use a shaker-type container with a lid that is tightly sealed. This type of container makes it easy to maintain a consistent temperature, which is important for maintaining the freshness of the oysters. This is also useful if you want to store the oyster pails or containers in your refrigerator. Just add water to the container every day. Cover the container and the oysters will be safe from light and air.
If you store live oysters or shucked oysters in your refrigerator at room temperature, it is not likely that they will survive for more than seven days at most. Five days is a good rule of thumb. After this time period, they should be discarded and replaced with fresh ones. Once they have survived for five days in a fresh container, they are good for up to two months in a dark glass jar.
When you buy live or dried oysters, they will probably look very fresh and alive. If you try to cut a finger-sized piece from one of the oysters before you store them in your refrigerator, you might find that they are soft and squishy. You will probably find that they are either slightly dry or just have a little stringy string left in them. They won't be cooked completely. When you try to cut a real oyster in a jar or other container of water, the membrane on the inside of the shell tends to break and the oyster is cooked inside out.
If you want to store the oysters for a longer period of time, place them in a tightly sealed glass jar. Place the jar in the refrigerator and keep the lid closed. You can also wrap the jar in a damp piece of newspaper or a towel. A damp cloth will help maintain the freshness of the oysters.
Store the oysters in a separate location away from other fresh clams or oysters. The oysters won't be competing with each other for nutrients. They will stay relatively close to their shell. In fact, if you do choose to move your oysters during the winter months, be sure to wrap them up loosely so that they don't dry out and die.
Since the oysters are stored in a dark and dry environment, they will be more prone to bacteria than fresh oysters in a sunny tank. There will also be an increase in the chance for contamination when the oysters are stored at warmer temperatures. Contamination of contaminated oysters tend to occur when oysters are not handled properly or when oysters are exposed to too much light.
The best way to store the oysters is by using a cold room. Keep the oysters in a plastic bag for a minimum of two days. For this amount of time, the oysters will be at the stage where they can be comfortably held at room temperature. The reason you waited two days to put the oysters in the fridge is because the oysters will probably have developed a shell condition that is conducive to bacterial growth.
To store live oysters in the refrigerator, simply place them in a plastic bag and close the bag tightly. It is important to use a cool dark area. Place the bag in a cool dark place like your freezer and wait for two days. If you do not see any growth after two days, remove the oysters from the bag and re-introduce them into the oyster space in the refrigerator.