Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Oysters but were Afraid to Ask

Part 1: Species

In the world of food blogs and social media, it seems like every food imaginable has their own holiday. There’s cupcake day, there’s grilled cheese day, there’s empanada day and there’s wiener schnitzel day. Every once in a while though, a holiday comes along that’s worth celebrating. Today is one of those days.

Happy National Oyster Day!!!

Oysters are one of the most unique, intriguing and delicious seafood options. With a wide variety of species, all from different bodies of water and boasting different flavor profiles, the world of Oysters can be a mystery. But the fun of eating Oysters is solving those mysteries.

Let’s start with the common East Coast Oyster. Also known as Crassostrea Virginica, they are found from Northern Prince Edward Island all the way down the east coast through the Gulf of Mexico. Some of the most common East Coast Oysters include, Blue Foot, Wellfleet and Malpeque Oysters. While all of the East Coast Oysters are the same species, they take on a range of flavors depending on the waters they are grown in.

The two most common species that make up West Coast Oysters are the Ostrea Lurida and the Crassostrea Gigas. The Ostrea Lurida, also known as the Olympia Oyster, was once a very common Oyster on the West Coast, but when ships from Asia sailed to the West Coast with invasive Crassostrea Gigas attached to their ships, Ostrea Lurida almost went into extinction. Now, they are making a comeback, commonly found in the Pacific Northwest, Ostrea Lurida have a short, but highly anticipated season. The Crassotra Gigas is now the most common West Coast Oyster, and is found from Alaska to Baja California.

The other most popular Oyster species including Ostrea Edulis, also known as European Flat Oysters, which are farmed on both coasts, and Crassostrea Sikamea, which are Japanese Oysters better known as Kumamoto Oysters. While we’re focusing on these five species, there are arguably hundreds of different Oyster species in the world.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we will explore the unique flavor profiles of these great Oysters.