How to care for and store your oysters:
The sooner you eat your Panacea Pearls the fresher and better they will be. Oysters can be stored for a few days (generally no more than 10 days) if they are refrigerated immediately and covered with a damp cloth. Do not store oysters directly on ice, sealed in an airtight container or in a plastic bag. Do not let them sit in water.
It is very important your oysters are not allowed to become warm. They should stay refrigerated until you are ready to eat them.
If you find an oyster with its shell already open or with a hole in its shell, do not eat these oysters as they are dead. If you are cooking or steaming your oysters, their shells will open as they cook. This pertains to pulling your oysters out of the refrigerator and finding one with its shell open or with a hole in it.
How to eat your oysters:
There are many, many wonderful ways to eat oysters. We think the best way to eat our Panacea Pearl oysters, are raw as soon as possible. The fresher they are, the better they taste. If you shuck them, you should eat them within the next several hours as they will start to dry out and lose their taste.
If you eat them raw, try squirting lemon juice or cocktail sauce on them.
Or for the best taste, just eat them as they are - raw and unvarnished!
You can steam them over boiling water. They are ready to eat shortly after their shells open up.
For those who like to cook their oysters, here some links from our favorite oysters cooking/eating/baking sites:
How to shuck oysters:
Shucking oysters is not about force, rather about twisting the shucking knife until you hear a slight pop and the oyster opens.
For best results, use a shucking knife and gloves.
Hold the oyster with the narrow side closest to you and begin to insert the shucking knife in between the top and bottom shell at the narrow point.
The first few times you may be frustrated but once you get the hang of it you will wonder what all the struggle was about.
Once you hear the slight pop, this means the "hinge" has been broken and you can insert the knife all the way inside. Turn the knife, to further separate the shells. To avoid getting shell parts in the oyster meat and juice, you can pull the knife out and "clean" it on a piece of cloth. Then reinsert the knife and scrape the top underside of the top oyster -- this will dislodge the meat from clinging to the oyster shell. Then pull the top shell completely off.
Then swipe your knife clean on a cloth again, and run your knife underneath the oyster meat, to dislodge the bottom portion of the oyster from the bottom shell.
Now you have successfully shucked the oyster and it is ready to be consumed!
How are the oysters grown?
Our Panacea Pearl oysters are grown completely by nature. No artificial ingredients, no GMO, nothing is added. The oysters are grown via aquaculture methods, so they grow in cages in the top 18-24 inches of our bay water. This is where the richest plankton resides, ensuring they receive the best "food" from our spring fed bays.
They are grown in the Gulf and are surrounded by close to 1 million acres of preserve, ensuring you get the freshest, healthiest tasting oysters our bays can provide.
We grow, raise and harvest our Panacea Oysters all year-round. During the summer months, we harvest our oysters and have them in the cooler by 10am (from May through October), this prevents the oysters from getting too warm.
Aquaculture methods differ from wild oyster farming in several ways: 1) Aquaculture ensures a sustainable environment because it does not involved scraping the bottom of the bay for the oysters. Every oyster, typically filters up to 50 gallons of water a day. This keep the bay clean, improves the eco-system and allow the oyster to grow clean and healthy. If you come and visit our co-op, and we hope you can stop by someday, you will see all the fish and birds that thrive on our bays because of the fresh, clean bay water.
2) Another difference in aquaculture and wild oyster farming is the lack of grittiness. When you taste our oysters, you will notice a lack of grittiness. The grittiness tends to be found in wild oysters as a result of their being grown on the floor of the bay.
How Does the Panacea Co-Op Work?
The Panacea Co-op was set up to help our Gulf oyster ranchers. We enable the oyster ranchers to put their focus on raising their oysters and not selling them to the end user. The co-op buys oysters from qualified ranchers and then acts as the marketing, sales and distribution arm for them. This way, the ranchers can focus on ranching, knowing they can sell their oysters to the co-op and not have to worry about processing, selling and distributing the oysters.