Last Updated: May 30, 2022

Can You Freeze Oysters? How Long Can You Freeze It?

Can You Freeze Oysters

Oysters are a delicacy. They’re rich in zinc and are known for a wild variety of health benefits. Not to mention, people around the world enjoy having oysters in many forms. 

We’re all guilty of spotting a huge discount on oysters at some point and wondering if you could just buy them in bulk and enjoy them at some other time. Can you freeze oysters? If so, how do you store them so they’ll last long?

Can You Freeze Oysters?

The good news is Yes, you can! You can store them in the fridge, or freeze them, to extend their shelf life. If done right, your oysters will be completely safe to use, and you will have a load of delicious food waiting in the freezer for whenever you want to eat it!

BUT there are a couple of things you should know before you run around buying oysters at a discount. 

  • While freezing your oysters is possible, it will have an effect on their taste once thawed. Frozen oysters will never taste as good as fresh ones!
  • To ensure that your oysters stay fresh for a long time once frozen, buy your oysters from a reputed fish market/grocery store. Make sure they’re fresh, of good quality, and alive when you buy them.
  • Frozen oysters are not meant to be consumed raw. Freezing your oysters leads to bacterial growth that is unsafe and dangerous.

How Can You Freeze Oysters?

There are two ways you could freezer oysters. Fortunately, both of them are extremely easy to follow!

  1. Freezing whole oysters – If you wish, you can freeze your oysters along with their shells. While this may be the easiest of options, it certainly requires a lot of freezer space. All you will need to do is clean the shells of your oysters thoroughly, and place them in a freezer-friendly bag. Remember to check each oyster to make sure they’re alive when you freeze them. If they’re not, discard them right away.
  1. Shucking oysters for freezing – In this method, you will need to shuck your live oysters and store them in an air-tight container. Clean your oysters before shucking them, and using a towel, shuck them out and store them in an airtight container. Remember to also save the liquid present along with the oysters and pour it into the container while freezing. This will avoid any freezer burns. Once again, only freeze live oysters.
how to freeze and thaw oyster
Everything You Need To Know About Oysters: A Snapshot

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How to Thaw Frozen Oysters?

There are a variety of techniques you could try to thaw your frozen oysters, some of them quicker than others.

  • The best way is to go by the traditional method. Thaw the desired amount of oysters in the refrigerator overnight and they should be ready to use after 12-18 hours!
  • For faster results, place your oysters (with shells) on a baking sheet and fill it with water halfway through them. Do not let the oyster meet come in direct contact with the water. Wait for 10-15 minutes and then change the water. Keep repeating this process until you achieve desired results.
  • You could also directly cook with your frozen oysters. This method works best when you store the frozen oysters in a container. To follow this, take out the required amount of oysters and let them sit out for 5-10 minutes. Then go ahead and directly pour them into your cooking recipe. 
  • To directly consume your frozen oysters with their shells, place the half-shells (sunny side up) on a baking sheet and add some salt, pepper, and oil. At 450 degrees celsius, cook your oysters in an oven for 9-10 minutes on a bed of salt. 

While all of these methods work, I would always recommend thawing them evenly in the refrigerator overnight. This method would make the best out of your frozen oysters once they’re thawed.

How Long Can You Freeze Oysters For? 

Generally, oysters last for 4-5 days in the fridge. Keep in mind that this is the period when they’ll likely still be fresh and alive. If you wish to consume raw oysters, it is best to do so 24-48 hours after purchasing them. 

However, oysters can last in the refrigerator for 2 weeks before they go bad. This means that although you won’t be able to eat them raw after 48 hours, you can still store them to cook them later.

When it comes to freezing oysters, you can increase their shelf life to 6 months! Remember that oysters, once frozen, become unsafe to eat raw. But you can still buy that discounted bag of oysters and use them in recipes like soups, sauces, stir-fried dishes, casseroles, and more!

How to Tell If Frozen Oysters Have Gone Bad?

Oysters that have gone bad are very easy to spot. And you must look for these few signs to know if your oysters are still safe to eat. 

Eating spoiled oysters can lead to food poisoning, and can sometimes be potentially life-threatening to some people. You must discard any spoiled oysters immediately.

To check for the freshness of your oysters you need to look at their color, texture, and smell. Spoiled oysters usually turn grey, brown, black, or even pink. They develop a cloudy film on their surface and become very dry. Spoiled oysters will smell very pungent and have an intense odor. If you spot any of these symptoms, do not risk eating them.

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oysters with sliced lemon
Image credit: Shutterstock

Can You Consume Frozen Oysters Raw?

Don’t. No matter how many days or weeks they have been in the freezer, once you freeze your oysters you should never have them raw. 

Freezing oysters kills them. Once dead, your oysters develop bacterial growth that is harmful and dangerous for you. Cooking or baking oysters kill these bacteria, making them safe to eat. But having them raw is extremely unsafe.

What Can You Do With Frozen Oysters?

So many things! You can grill them, bake them, add them to your soups and casseroles, or even stews and gravies! Find some of my favorite frozen oyster recipes below!

FAQ

Can I freeze oysters if their shells are open?

If an oyster does not shut its shell once you tap on it, it is dead. Never use dead oysters, whether for freeing, eating them raw, or cooking them. 

Can you freeze oysters in a jar?

Live oysters can be shucked and stored in a jar along with their liquor. The jar should be air-tight and freezer friendly for longer shelf life.

Can you refreeze oysters?

Don’t ever freeze oysters that have already been frozen once. It is better and safer to only take out the desired number of frozen oysters from the freezer instead of thawing the whole batch and refreezing them.

Do oysters die when frozen? 

Yes, the freezing process kills oysters. This is why you should never eat frozen oysters in raw form. Always cook them before consumption.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t freeze oysters. You can! If you follow our guide right and take all the necessary precautions, you will have a super delicious meal tucked in your freezer, ready for when you crave it! There are many, many things you can do with frozen oysters. Don’t let anything hold you back!

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