How to open an Oyster

This blog will provide you with detailed instructions on how to open an oyster. In North America people say ‘shuck’ instead of ‘open’.

Oyster’s have been a staple food for thousands of years. Once a food of the poor, and no considered a delicacy, Oysters are full of sweet and salty flavours. Opening an oyster can be a bit tricky for someone who has never attempted it before. But once you have the technique you’ll be able top open your own oysters time again.


Equipment needed

You’ll need the following:

If you would prefer to watch an instructional video, you can jump straight it here.


How to open an oyster

How to Open an OysterAs long as you follow these instructions carefully, you’ll be able to open an oyster without hurting yourself. Proper oyster knifes don’t have sharp edges but they do have a reasonable sharp tip so make sure you’re able to hold everything steady and without slipping.

  1. Clean the oysters thoroughly under cold water, using a nail brush to remove as much dirt or mud as possible
  2. Discard any oysters that are open and don’t close immediately with a tap to the shell as they may be dead
  3. Taking a towel, place is around the wider lobe of the shell and hold it firmly
  4. Take your oyster knife and place it between the hinge on the thinner end of the oyster
  5. Firmly push the knife into the middle of the hinge whilst wiggling side-to-side. With enough force the knife will go into the shell
  6. Once the knife is inserted into the shell, still holding the oyster in once hand, firmly push down on the knife to ‘pop’ the oyster open
  7. Once the shell has opened, run the knife from one end to the other to break the muscle away from the shell and release the top

You’ve now learnt how to open an Oyster yourself. Congratulations!


Choosing your oysters

I’m very lucky that I have a famous oyster fishery on my doorstep at the River Blackwater. Richard Haward has been cultivating oysters for over 50 years, as did 6 generations of his family before him, and his oysters are award winning. I am able to get a staple supply of fresh Gigas oysters, and at the right time of year I can get the famous native oysters. Both have their own individual tastes. Personally I prefer gigas, but many people go for the natives.

You need to buy your oysters as fresh as possible. Some supermarkets stock oysters now, but make sure they are fresh. I recommend you find a good local fishmonger.



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