National Oyster Day is observed annually on August 5th. Oysters are enjoyed as a seafood in many parts of the world.
Did you know there are over 100 different species of oysters? They’re typically named after the body of water in which they’re grown because oysters take on the characteristics of the water in which they live.
The history of Oyster Day is unknown, but the history of human’s relationship with oysters is very long, since Roman times there is evidence of people in the United Kingdom and France farming oysters. In the 19th century New York harbour was the largest producer of oysters in the world and provided nutritious food for thousands of people.
Here are some other interesting oyster facts:
- The largest oyster-producing body of water in the world is located in Chesapeake Bay on the east coast of the U.S.
- Almost two billion pounds of oysters are eaten each year.
- In the U.S., east coast oysters tend to be smaller, milder and saltier. West coast oysters are creamy and sweet.
- Only one out of every 10,000 oysters will produce a pearl.
- The average 3 inch oyster filters about 50 gallons of water a day.
- Americans eat more oysters than any other country in the world.
- Most oysters varieties in North America are actually native to Eastern Europe or Asia. Brought here by ships over the centuries.
- The world’s only oyster museum is on Chincoteague Island, Virginia.
- For centuries, oysters are one of the best known aphrodisiac foods in the culinary world.
- Oysters are meatier in months that have “r” in their names. So you may hear people call them “arsters.”
- Oysters have the ability to change their sex.
- Eating four oysters a day gives you a complete daily supply of copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc.
- Oysters are rich in vitamins A, C, D and B-12. B-12 is well-known to help people lose weight and sharpen their memory.
- When oyster larvae (baby oysters) attach themselves to a hard material, like an oyster shell, they are called “spat.”
- Wild and hatchery-raised oyster larvae prefer to attach to other oyster shells as they grow.
- Legend holds that the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite, emerged from the sea in an oyster shell.
- Oyster farms improve the health of nearby waterways.
- Oysters help waterways by eating algae, filtering out particulates and excess nutrients and creating habitat for other organisms to thrive.
- Oyster reefs are one of the crucial components needed for Chesapeake Bay recovery. The Chesapeake Bay loses an estimated 2,600 acres of oyster beds annually due to silt and sediments that cover them.
- The same type of oyster tastes different depending on where it was raised.
- The Eastern or American Oyster can be found from Canada to Argentina.
- Pearls used in jewelry are produced in clams and mussels, not oysters as commonly believed.