Can You Freeze Oysters? How?

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Quick Answer: Can You Freeze Oysters?

Yes, you can freeze oysters! They can be frozen perfectly while still in their shells, or even shucked with the oyster liquor. However, know that once oysters have been frozen, it would not be a great idea to eat them raw, directly, as the freezing process actually kills them. Frozen and thawed oyster makes for a great addition in stews, chowders, soups and casseroles, though, and freezing oysters is a great, effective way to considerably prolong their shelf life.

This is a comprehensive guide for the best method to freeze and store oysters for later, in the comfort and ease of your home.

Let’s dive right in into the method.

Can You Freeze Shucked Oysters?

Can You Freeze Shucked Oysters?

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

The method to freeze shucked oysters is slightly different than freezing in-shell oysters; and in some way more effectual as it saves you a lot of space in your freezer.

Materials

  • Strainer
  • Cool water
  • Airtight resealable freezer bags

Tools

  • No special tools needed

Instructions

    1. Prep the shucked oysters for freezing – In addition to making sure you are using fresh, live oysters, the preparation for this method is slightly more complex.

      First, separate the oyster liquor from the meat.

      Then, thoroughly wash and rinse the oysters to make sure they are totally clean and free of any dirt, or sand. Using a strainer should make this process significantly easier.
    2. Prep the oyster liquor for freezing – Strain the oyster liquor separately to make sure there are no pieces or fragments of shell, sand or any other dirt in it.
    3. Place the oysters and oyster liquor inside airtight freezer bags – Do this in such a way that the oysters are submerged in the oyster liquid.

      In the case that the liquor is not enough to submerge them, add cool water to the bag, but do not fill to the brim. Keep half an inch of headspace for the liquor to expand when freezing.
    4. Seal securely, label and freeze – It is really important that you seal the freezer bag or container really tightly and securely to ensure it is completely watertight and airtight.

      Once sealed securely, label the bag or container, and it is ready to freeze!

      It is advised to use up your oysters within a maximum of two to three months since freezing. Again, keeping it beyond that time frame might mean increased chances of spoilage for your oysters.

Freezing In-Shell Oysters

Time Taken: 15-30 minutes

What You Need:

  • Cool water / vegetable broth
  • Airtight resealable freezer bags

If say you have purchased a sizeable number of oysters and are preparing to freeze some or all of them, it is first of quintessential importance that you separate the live ones from the dead ones.

Dead oysters are not safe to eat owing to the high content of harmful bacteria.

If you are careful, it is not very hard to tell apart dead from live oysters.

Live ones remain very tightly and firmly closed, whereas dead ones have their shells open wide. Picking apart the live oysters from the dead ones is an important part of prepping oysters for freezing.

Prep the Oysters for Freezing

This mainly includes what we discussed.

Throw away the dead oysters that do not close their shells when tapped, and gather the live ones.

Make sure they are washed and cleaned thoroughly, with no sand, dirt, mud or grime sticking to them.

Place in Airtight Resealable Freezer Bag

Place the oysters inside an airtight resealable freezer bag, either with cool water, or vegetable broth.

Seal Securely and Freeze

Make sure you seal the freezer bag(s) really well, tightly and securely with no chance of leakages or chance of any air entering.

Label the bag, place it upright in the freezer, and let is freeze!

Remember that you must consume your oysters within a maximum of 3 months within freezing. If you keep it beyond that, your oysters have a very high chance of getting spoilt.

How to Freeze Oyster Stew

Time Taken: 5-6 hours

What You Need:

  • Small airtight resealable freezer bags
  • Sturdy spoon

Oyster stew is a delicious meal that is also fairly easy to prepare. For a refresher, you can check out this recipe:

Thankfully, it is also a dish that can be frozen!

So, whether you are left with leftovers you don’t know what to do with, or if you are making some of it beforehand, use this simple guide and follow the instructions carefully!

Wait for the Oyster Stew to Reach Room Temperature

This is obviously not an issue if you are freezing leftovers, but if it’s a freshly prepared stew, it is very important that you let it chill in room temperature for at least some time to avoid spitting.

Place Oyster Stew Inside Refrigerator to Further Chill

Once your oyster stew has reached room temperature, place it inside the fridge, and just let it chill for at least 2 hours.

Divide Oyster Stew into Serving Portions and Spoon into Small Airtight Freezer Bags

Not only does freezing the oyster stew in serving portions makes it freeze better and faster, it prevents the formation of water crystals in your stew.

Spoon the portions accordingly into multiple small airtight freezer bags.

Seal Securely, Label and Freeze

Make sure you squeeze out all the air possible out of the bags before you seal it tightly and securely. Label, and freeze!

Your oyster stew can be kept in the freezer for up to 4 weeks.

How Long Can You Freeze Oysters?

Oysters can be kept in the freezer for up to three months.

However, for optimal flavor, taste, and least changes in texture, it is recommended that you consume your oysters within not more than a few weeks of freezing; within the earliest time possible.

The longer you keep oysters in freezer, the greater are their chances of spoilage, and dramatic changes in texture.

In a few months, your oysters would get mushy beyond salvation, and may have to ultimately be thrown away.

So, make plans to eat up your frozen oysters accordingly.

How to Store Frozen Oysters?

For all the processes and methods prescribed here for freezing oysters, using heavy-duty, airtight, resealable, freezer friendly bags and pouches is a must.

If you are working with containers, please make sure they are freezer-friendly, especially for storing for longer periods.

And they need to be sealed really well.

A vacuum sealer is actually a great investment for this purpose, especially if you freeze food often.

It would help get all the air out.

How to Defrost Frozen Oysters?

Thawing frozen oysters requires no special preparation or methods.

Just move the freezer bags from the freezer to the refrigerator and let the oysters thaw for a day.

Frozen oysters require a thawing period of at least 20 hours, so make sure you take a day.

In case you are in a bit of a hurry, just put the freezer bag with the oysters inside, under running cold tap water.

It should speed up the thawing process significantly, although it is not recommended over the normal refrigerator thawing method.

Make sure to cook and consume your frozen oysters as early as possible after thawing them, especially if you use the second, quicker method of thawing them.

Keeping them for longer is not a good idea, re-freezing them is an absolute no-no.

Can You Re-freeze Frozen Oysters?

Refreezing frozen oysters is strictly recommended against.

Refreezing your oysters would lead to issues with their texture, consistency, and even the taste and flavor.

Hence, it is best to avoid refreezing frozen oysters and just make a hearty meal out of it the first time you thaw.

If you have any leftovers or unused oysters, it is best to discard them instead of trying to re-freeze.

Do Oysters Freeze Well?

Strictly speaking, oysters freeze fine.

There are usually some changes in texture, and because the freezing process essentially kills the oysters, they cannot be had raw after freezing and thawing.

They do, however, make great additions to soups, stews, casseroles and more.

Contrary to popular belief, our research has shown that freezing oysters makes no changes whatsoever in terms of their nutritional values and benefits.

As long as you freeze the oysters properly, following all the instructions given here to the T, they should freeze just fine for up to 3 to 4 months.

FAQs

How do I choose fresh oysters to buy?

When buying oysters, it is advised that you pick those with tightly closed shells. These signify live ones. Dead oysters are those with wide open shells, so they should be avoided and discarded if mistakenly bought.

Should I freeze oysters in-shell or shuck them first?

Either method should work fine provided you follow the steps and instructions carefully. Shucking oysters does have an advantage in the sense that it makes your work easier later on when it comes to cooking the oysters.

Freezing in-shell oysters is faster, and is said by some to retain the taste of the oysters better. So, while both have their share of pros and cons, it depends on whichever method you feel more comfortable with.

Does freezing oysters change their taste?

Not at all. If you freeze the oysters properly following instructions correctly and the right method, your oysters should freeze with negligible changes in texture, while preserving the flavor and taste perfectly for up to three to four months.

Can I freeze oyster sauce?

Oyster sauce actually does not freeze well at all, owing to its very high salt content. Try to avoid freezing it as it would not yield good results.

How long can I keep oysters in the fridge?

When kept in the refrigerator, the shelf life of oysters varies between 10 to 21 days.

Bottom Line

We earnestly hope that this comprehensive, step-by-step guide covering all the best methods to freeze oysters, along with oyster stew successfully at the safety and ease of your home, has helped you!

For any questions you may have regarding freezing oysters, please do let us know by reaching out to us, we would love to help!

If you have any other tips and tricks up your sleeve about freezing oysters that you would like to add here, feel free to let us know, we will add them to the guide so they can reach and help more people!

If this has helped you, please do share with your friends and family so that they can also use this guide!

References

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About Amanda Jones

Amanda is a person with an eye for detail. She has been cooking since her childhood and loves to bake too. Recently, she's made the decision to pursue baking full-time and quit her 9 to 5 job. In the meantime, she still enjoys cooking and baking for friends and family, especially when it comes time for special occasions like birthdays or holidays!

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