Types of Oysters with Their Flavor and Picture (Ultimate Guide)

People all over the globe appreciate oysters as a seafood delicacy. Oysters aren’t all grouped under one general name, so if you’re looking to buy them to eat, you’ll have to look around. Oysters come in a variety of flavors, textures, and sizes, each with its own distinct flavor.

Oyster species have common names for the seas where they are harvested. Pacific oysters (blue point oysters, Shigoku oysters, and Kumiai oysters) are the most common types of oysters, followed by Japanese oysters and Atlantic Eastern oysters. Saltwater mollusks (phylum Mollusca) are classified as true oysters.

The superfamily Ostreoidea contains the majority of edible oysters. Shellfish prefer shallow water in marine or brackish environments. Oysters have irregularly shaped, flat shells that cover the soft edible inside. They are identified by this.

Raw or cooked oysters are the most common types. Just a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper are all you need to enjoy eating fresh raw oysters. Oysters have an essential function in marine ecosystems, as do all oyster species. Oysters filter up to 50 gallons (190 liters) of water each day, acting as water filters.

They benefit the biodiversity in oceans and seas by improving water nutrient levels. You’ll discover the many sorts of oysters that you may consume in this article. You’ll learn about the greatest and nicest types of raw oysters.

Types of Oysters With Their Picture and Name

While some individuals may find it unappetizing to eat raw seafood, many others across the globe do so. Let’s take a look at some of the most common oyster types.

Pacific Oysters (Crassostrea Gigas)

Pacific oysters are also known as Japanese oysters or Miyagi oysters, and they are quite large. These oysters grow and are farmed on the US and Japanese Pacific coasts, as the names suggest. These huge edible oysters are known scientifically as gigas, which means large. In cool oceans, Pacific oysters flourish on rocks or mud-sand bottoms at depths of 16 to 130 feet (5 to 40 meters). These salty mollusks reach an average size of 3″ to 6″ (8 to 15 cm) because of their huge oyster species.

Yet, some oyster specimens may grow to be up to 12 inches (30 cm) in size. They have a hard, firm shell that is pale in color and has a rough feel to it. They reach maturity after two to four years.

Oysters have been imported to other nations and are native to Japan, where they are cultivated on Pacific coastlines. In the seas around the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia, they are quite common. Pacific oysters are considered to be one of the most common types of oysters in the world, according to certain sources.

What does it taste like to eat Pacific oysters? Oyster flesh is silky and velvety. Sweet oysters with creamy overtones and a tiny bit of earthiness are the most common varieties. These oysters aren’t as salty as Atlantic or Eastern oysters.

Atlantic Oysters (Crassostrea virginica)

The American oyster, Wellfleets, Blue points, Eastern oyster, and Totten Inlet Virginica are just a few of the names for Atlantic oysters. The Chesapeake Bay in Maryland was the first location where this oyster species was found. Eastern (Atlantic) oysters thrive in saltwater temperatures of 60 to 60°F (15.5 to 20°C) and are named after the Chesapeake Bay.

The smallest ones are 3 inches (8 cm) and the largest are 7 inches (18 cm), similar to Pacific oysters. Their white or gray/brown shells are speckled with purple streaks and have a hard calcium appearance. The white meat has a purple or red-brown edge and is covered by the shell. Shallow coastal seas and estuaries are where they’re most common.

These enormous oysters grow on the coasts of Northern Europe, despite their Eastern Coast origin. The sweetest oysters come from the Pacific, not Atlantic. They have a unique salty flavor with a strong marine essence. According to some, Atlantic oysters have a creamy flavor with seaweed and mushrooms. The oyster flesh is somewhat crisp due to being a cold-water variety of oyster.

Depending on where the mollusks were harvested, the flavors of Atlantic oysters change as well. The regions of the United States are mentioned in several of the species’ popular names. Oysters from Long Island and Wellfleets, both from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, are examples of Blue points oysters. Vizcaino Bay, Baja California, is home to the Kumiai oysters, which are a kind of Pacific oyster.

Kumamoto Oysters (Crassostrea sikamea)

Kumamoto oysters are a tiny kind of Japanese oyster found off the coasts of Australia and other western Pacific nations. These little delicious oysters feature unevenly shaped hard shells and are closely related to the Pacific oyster. Kumamoto oysters are only about 2 inches (5 cm) in size when compared to Pacific oysters, which grow to an average of 4 inches (11 cm).

Some of the “kumies” species are even smaller. The firm oyster meat is protected by a deep fluted shell. It’s possible to have a white-green color in the shell. The flesh has a thick, velvety feel and a hint of salty flavor. It is ivory-white in color.

To distinguish them from Pacific oysters, this species of oyster is referred to as “Kumamotos.” The first kind of oysters that ‘novices’ try are usually warm-water oysters. They’re the ideal oyster because of their little size and lovely flavor, free from fishiness.

The distinctive, fruity taste of Kumamoto oysters, as well as their bowl-shaped shells, have made them a favorite among oyster lovers. Choosing a Kumamoto oyster is the best option if you want the sweetest variety.

European Flats (Ostrea edulis)

The flat pear or oval-shaped shells that cover the muscle meat give European flat oysters their name, which is farmed in many coastal areas. Belon oysters, mud oysters, and Colchester native oysters are all popular saltwater mollusk names that belong to Europe. This European species has a salty flavor with copper or metallic overtones, as compared to Pacific and Atlantic oysters. Another way to distinguish this species from other oyster species is by their shallow, ridged shell.

In many coastal economies, European oysters are a valuable farmed oyster species. Oysters require around two or three years to reach maturity. The hard shells are yellowish or cream in color and grow to be 1.5″ to 4″ (4 – 10 cm) in diameter. Oyster flesh comes in a variety of hues, from pale gray to creamy white. The shells are pearly-white on the inside. Ostrea edulis oysters may reach a size of 7.8″ (20 cm) if they are left to grow.

They must come from the Belon River in France if European oysters are referred to and marketed as “Belon Oysters.” As a result, these aren’t genuine ‘Belons,’ despite the fact that some producers label their oysters “Maine Belon Oysters.” The texture of oyster meat is tender to firm. It has a strong metallic, coppery flavor that makes a tremendous statement.

European oysters have a less salty flavor and a residual sweetness compared to “Pacifics” or “Atlantics.” European oysters are good for making fish soups, stews, and baked stuffed oysters because of their solid texture.

Olympia Oysters (Ostrea lurida / conchaphila)

Olympia oysters are tiny and have a distinct, strong flavor. This oyster’s common names may also be used to determine where it is captured. Olympia oysters, for example, are known as California oysters and come from Washington. Native oysters or Rock oysters are two different names for this oyster. If they are Ostrea lurida or Ostrea conchaphila, there is also some ambiguity. It’s difficult to tell these oyster species apart because they look and taste so similar. British Columbia’s Olympia West Coast oysters are farmed primarily in Puget Sound and are a popular delicacy.

The Olympia oyster has a distinct oval shape that is sometimes almost round, which is one of the main identifying characteristics. Pear or tear-shaped huge Pacific oysters are the polar opposite. This oyster species has a shallow shell, similar to European Belons. The color of the shell ranges from light purple to black, with a greyish tinge.

Olympia oysters are a treat for many oyster enthusiasts. The oyster flesh has a creamy texture and is light olive green to ivory white in hue. Oyster flesh has a salty punch with metallic mineral undertones, which is scarce. In reality, they are nicknamed “baby Belons” because of the flavor, which is comparable to European oysters.

Sydney Rock Oysters (Saccostrea glomerate)

In Australia and New Zealand, Sydney rock oysters are quite popular. New Zealand rock oysters or Auckland oysters are two terms for this. Shallow waters, protected bays, and estuaries are home to these hard-shelled mollusks.

These oysters are renowned for their smooth shells, as opposed to the rough irregular shells of some of their Northern Hemisphere oyster relatives. The size of Sydney rock oysters ranges from 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) long.

The flesh is light white or yellowish in color, as can be seen by cutting open the shells. Other types of popular oysters have a richer, sharper mineral flavor. Although having a mild-sweet flavor, Sydney rock oysters have a less briny taste than Pacific oysters.

Dredge Oysters (Ostrea chilensis)

The dredge oyster is a type of genuine oyster that can be found in New Zealand. The Chilean oyster is a common name for this mollusk species, which is native to Chile. The Bluff oyster is a common name for the Ostrea chilensis​ in New Zealand. One of New Zealand’s most well-known shellfish is this one.

The Foveaux Strait in the South Island area is where these oysters are collected. The town of Bluff, where the fishery is located, inspired their name.The oyster shells are rounder in shape and have a dull purple-brown color. The ridged shell is flatter than the other, which is bowl-shaped.

Creamy colored oyster flesh with streaks of gray is revealed when the oyster is shucked using an oyster knife. Dredge oysters range in size from 2.3 to 3.1 inches (6 to 8 cm) on average. Meaty sweetness with notes of seaweed and mild saltiness are attributes of the creamy delicate oyster flesh.

Shigoku Oysters

These oysters, which were introduced in 2009, are shaped like a mussel and come from Washington state. Willapa Bay and Samish Bay, Washington State, are home to the Shigoku oysters, a Pacific oyster variety. The flesh is tough and salty, with a nice and briny flavor.

They grow to be 3 inches (7.6 cm) in size. Shigoku means “ultimate” in Japanese, and this oyster is one of the greatest-tasting oysters with many admirers.

Other Types of Oysters

Some of the world’s most popular mollusks include Pacific oysters, Atlantic oysters, and European flat oysters. There are several other types of oysters to try depending on the location of the world.

Beausoleil Oysters

Beausoleil oysters are a kind of Atlantic oyster that grows in New Brunswick, Canada’s cold seas. They grow to about 2.5 inches (6.3 cm) long in four years and are a small kind of Atlantic oyster (Crassostrea virginica). The shells of these oysters from the Atlantic are pale beige and gray, and the meat is delicious.

Each morsel has a lovely flavor with nutty overtones and a hint of sea. Several oyster specialists recommend starting with a few Beausoleil oysters if you’ve never tried oysters before.

Misty Point Oysters

Roasted misty point oysters are a popular kind of Atlantic oyster, as seen in the photograph. They’re shaped like an elongated oval and have a tough shell. They grow up to 3″ (7.6 cm) and come from the Virginia Barrier Islands. What do Misty Point oysters taste like? The sea has a salty, earthy flavor that stands out. The flesh is creamy and solid, with a pleasant consistency.

Wellfleet Oysters

Wellfleet oysters are a well-known variety of oyster cultivated along the estuaries of Wellfleet, Massachusetts. The ideal environment for high-quality oysters is created by the waters around this section of the Atlantic. As compared to other oyster species, the cold waters assist the oyster build a solid fibrous meaty muscle scar, which produces a distinctly sweet taste.

In addition, a salty-tasting, hardy kind of oyster that keeps for a long time is caused by the high salinity and big tides.

Fine de Claire

One of the greatest oysters you can try in Europe is the Fine de Claire oyster variety. This is a top European oyster that has a elongated form and belongs to the hard-shelled mollusks. The fact that they are finished in salt ponds explains why they are of such high quality. This distinguishes the excellent salty oysters from various other oyster species.

How to Buy the Perfect Oyster

Oysters are often eaten raw, which means buying the finest quality oysters is critical. How can you identify the most recent, juiciest, and delectable oysters? Here are a few pointers to get you started.

  • Supplier. Instead of buying oysters from a supermarket, which is the middleman, try to buy them directly from a trustworthy seafood supplier or fish market. This helps to keep the product fresh.
  • Check the smell. The oyster should not have a pungent or “funky” odor, so make sure to check. If there is any odor, a dependable seller will open up an oyster for you to sniff. Don’t eat an oyster if it has a unpleasant odor when you open it at home.
  • Don’t buy from tanks. Instead of being stored in water tanks, purchase fresh oysters that have been kept on ice. The brine is washed out of the oysters by putting them in a tank. When you crack an oyster, you get the delicious brine and can experience all of the sea’s wonderful flavors since you don’t buy oysters from tanks.

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