How to Shuck an Oyster

‘The world's mine oyster, which I with sword will open.’

 The Merry Wives of Windsor William Shakespeare

Oysters are bivalve molluscs, with two shells to protect their soft bodies. The shells are joined by a hinge and an adductor muscle, which holds the shells tightly together as soon as an oyster is removed from the water.

The art of opening an oyster

With a little bit of practice and the right tool, it’s easier to open an oyster than it is to peel a prawn.

Step 1.

Give each oyster a quick scrub with a stiff brush under running water. Put on gloves. Hold the oyster, flat side up, with the pointy end angled towards you. Using your shucking knife, knock off the frilly edge of the shell.

Step 2.

Hold the oyster firmly, insert the point of the oyster knife between the upper and lower shells. Give it a wiggle to help penetrate the shells.

Step 3.

Using a twisting motion, pry the shells apart. Slide the knife slowly from side to side up, flat against the top shell. Be firm, but gentle, so as not to damage the oyster or lose any of the salty liquor..

Step 4.

Once you’ve removed the top shell, carefully slide your knife under the oyster and cut the abductor muscle. Then gently turn the oyster over inside its shell. You’ve done it! 

Now, eat, shuck, repeat!

Oyster shucking