Here at Nick’s Cove we pride ourselves on our knowledge of these tasty bi-valves, so here are a few fun facts about oysters that will make you the terror of any beachside trivia group!
* The word “oyster” was first used in English in the 17th century and comes from Old French “oistre”, which comes from the Latin word “ostreum”, which comes from the Greek word “ostreon”, which means bone. It was first used in print by Shakespeare, “Why then, the world’s mine oyster, which I, with sword will open”, which coined a common phrase.
* There are many varietals of oysters but two types: 1) true oysters, belonging to the family Ostridae, and 2) pearl oysters which belong to Pteriidae. Pearl oysters are not edible but true oysters are delicious!
* Oysters are filter feeders and can mitigate pollution by removing excess sediment, algae and nutrients from a body of water. Their reefs also create a habitat for other marine species.
* While some oysters varietals have two sexes (Olympia and European) their reproductive organs contain both egg and sperm. They commonly change gender at least once during their lifecycle.
* In the past, people were advised only to eat oysters in months that contain the letter ‘R’, in modern times refrigeration allows us to enjoy oysters year-round! While it is true that in some areas the texture of oysters change in warmer months, in colder habitats (like Tomales Bay) the changes are seldom noticeable.
* Oysters contain a high proportion of vitamins C, D, B1, B2 and B3; and if you eat at least four per day you will get the recommended daily allowances of calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and Zinc. A half dozen oysters only contain 57 calories and have 6 grams of protein!
* The ancient Romans believed oysters are an aphrodisiac and 18th Century lover Cassanova supposedly ate 50 every morning for breakfast to maintain his virility. It is actually true that the amino acids produced by oysters and their high levels of zinc can be a factor in increasing sex drive, especially when enjoyed in a waterfront cottage …
* In the 19th century, New York Harbor became the largest source of Oysters in the world, and helped to establish the city’s restaurant trade with their popularity. Today, Wilapa Bay in Washington State has the highest production in the US.
* Oysters can be prepared many ways, including raw, grilled, fried, baked or sautéed. My personal favorite is our own Oysters Nickerfeller, the oyster is topped with gruyere cheese, house-made bread crumbs and baked into gooey deliciousness. It is also commonly kown that Nick’s Cove is home of the original BBQ oyster.
So come take a drive down Highway 1 and check out some of these fascinating creatures at our outdoor Raw Bar with our house-made mignonettes, in the restaurant where we serve them raw or cooked, or perhaps have them delivered for breakfast in one of our cottages (I hear it worked for Cassanova)!