Oysters are interesting creatures. They come in many different varieties that have their own shell designs and colors. Aside from being delicious, oysters are also fascinating. Here are a few fun facts you may not have known about oysters.
Oysters actually have gills like fish. They also have thin-walled blood vessels in their mantle to get oxygen out of the water. They have a heart with three chambers in it that pumps colorless blood through their system.
You cannot sex an oyster by looking at their shells. They look identical. While oysters do come in male and female, they often change sex at least once during their lifetime, sometimes more. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, when the conditions are just right, female Pacific oysters can spawn up to 200 million eggs in a single season. Of course, only a handful of these survive to adulthood.
Oysters are nutritious! Popping an oyster in your mouth gives you loads of vitamins including the B complex, C, A and D. By eating four medium oysters every day, you ensure that you meet your daily recommended allowances of copper, calcium, iron, iodine, manganese, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. They are also very low in calories; you only get 110 calories in a dozen oysters.
You can ensure that the oysters you dug up or purchased are alive with a simple test. If the shell is open, just tap on it lightly. If the oyster is alive, it will snap its shell shut.
Unlike many types of fish farming, oyster farming can actually improve the environment. Oysters filter the water to gain their food, which processes a lot of particulate matter that may otherwise pollute the water. An oyster can filter up to 60 gallons of water every day.
The old adage about oysters being an aphrodisiac may have some bit of truth to it. While no study has shown that eating oysters actually enhances your love life, they are full of zinc, which is a very important mineral for men’s reproductive health.
The shells of oysters contain a lot of calcium. Calcium is good for garden soil and for growing plants. Ground oyster shells are often used in the garden to amend the soil. They are also offered to chickens so they produce strong egg shells.
While any oyster can make a pearl, only a certain inedible family of oysters produces the pearls we prize in jewelry. Pearls are made when something that irritates the oyster is lodged inside the shell. The oyster covers it in nacre, which is a combination of protein and calcium. In nature, only 1 in 10,000 oysters will produce a pearl.
Oysters have been eaten since at least Roman times. The shells have been found in archeological sites. Until recently, oysters were considered a food for the poor and working classes. Today, a dozen oysters can cost a pretty penny and are considered a luxury.
Oysters are at risk from crabs, starfish, and snails known as Japanese oyster drills. Ghost shrimp, a small crayfish-like animal, can also harm oyster beds.
Picture, recipes and/or content upgraded: 01-25-16
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