Oysters: Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em!

oyster shell

Oysters…love ’em or leave ’em, there is no in between! These tasty, slimy, expensive delicacies don’t seem to have any middle ground. No one ever says, oysters are just OK. They are best eaten raw with plenty of champagne to wash them down. Sorry, pregnant ladies, but these are off the menu for you.

What are oysters?

Oysters are in the mollusks family. Other two shelled mollusks include clams, scallops and mussels. The shell of the oyster looks almost rocky. It is formed as the animal grows. Successive layers of shell form with each layer projecting a little beyond the last. This creates a series of concentric lines as shown in the picture above. A ligament and various muscles hold the edge of the shells firmly together like a hinge.

Oysters are most prevalent, and best eaten, in colder months. They breed during the summer and are harvested in months which contain an “R” (January, February, March, April, September, October, November and December).

Oysters feed by drawing a current of water between their two shells. Minute food particles pass through the water providing nourishment. Interestingly, oysters can live a long time out of water as long as they are kept cold since they can keep their shells tightly closed so no water escapes. Their biggest natural enemies are starfish and crabs…and of course oyster loving humans!

How to eat oysters?

The first issue for the person desiring to taste an oyster is the rather daunting task of opening the rough, rock hard, tightly sealed shell. But, take heart, there is a tool for that! Some brilliant person invented the oyster knife. But be careful to protect your hands from the rough shell. Watch this video on how to open an oyster shell:

For some people, getting past the gray, slimy, plump body and the strong desire to gag, makes oyster eating impossible. I must confess to being one of the those people! However, I am told that if I could get past my “issues”, I would discover a delicate, rich, salty flavor. Oysters are also high in calcium, iron and protein. But, I stand my ground…they are not for everyone no matter how healthy they are.

The best way to eat oysters, according to my friends, is to “slurp them down”. Most people use a tiny fork and move the oyster around in its liquid making sure it is not attached to the shell. Then, they put down the fork, pick up the shell and “slurp” from the wide end. While the majority of people shallow oysters whole, there are some brave soles who give it a light chew.

What so you do with the shell?

Don’t just throw the shells in the garbage! Because oyster shells have a very high calcium content, using them in your garden can improve the pH balance of the soil and result in more colorful plants.

Oysters being served

Where can you eat raw oysters in the Charleston area?

 

Pearlz Oyster Bar – West Ashley
9 Magnolia Rd
Charleston, SC 29407
(843) 573-2277

Pearlz Oyster Bar
9 Magnolia Rd
Charleston, SC 29407
(843) 573-2277

Pearlz Oyster Bar

Oyster House and O-Bar (Formerly A.W. Shucks)
5 S Market St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 723-1151

Oyster House

Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar
205 E Bay St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 853-8600

Amen Street

Victor Social Club
39-F John St.
Charleston, SC

 

Victor Social Club

Coast Bar & Grill
39 John St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 722-8838

Coast Bar & Grill

Prohibition
547 King St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 793-2964

Prohibition

The Darling Oyster Bar
513 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

The Darling Oyster Bar

The Ordinary
544 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

The Ordinary

Red’s Ice House
98 Church St
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
(843) 388-0003

Red’s Ice House


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Farmers’ Markets – Live Like a Local!

Farmers' market

The weather is nice and we are in full vacation season mode at the Palmetto Beach House Rental on the Isle of Palms with bookings set all the way through August! Everyone enjoys living like a local when they come to the island. One way to do that is to visit the local Farmers’ Markets and partake in some delicious locally grown foods.

We have three great options that are not far from our home. Each one has it’s own “flavor” and each one is worthy of a visit while you are in the area.

The closest Farmer’s Market is located just down the road on Sullivan’s Island. It also happens to be the new kid on the block having just started this year. The Sullivan’s Island market is located at 1921 I’On Avenue right in front of the Poe Library. It is open every Thursday 2:30 PM – 7:00 PM April 7th – June 30th. You can find a variety of potted plants and flowers including mint and tomato plants, plenty of fresh vegetables, local arts and crafts and even a table for junior vendors. Click here for additional information Sullivan’s Island Farmers’ Market

Over the Connector, is the  Mount Pleasant Farmer’s Market located in the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market Pavilion on Coleman Boulevard (Moultrie Middle School). This market is open every Tuesday 3:30 PM – 7:00 PM April 5th – September 27th. As you meander through the aisle here you will find freshly picked South Carolina fruits and vegetables, colorful flowers, local seafood and a variety of baked goods, canned goods, snacks and even some freshly cooked meals. There is music and family-friendly activities making this a fun afternoon adventure for everyone. Parking is free. Click here for additional information Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market

Last and furthest away from Isle of Palms is the Charleston Farmers’ Market. This one is an award winner, so don’t miss it! It was founded by Mayor Joe Riley in 1989 and was named “Best Outdoor Event” & “Best Attraction” for 2013, 2014 and 2015. Located in Marion Square right beside the Embassy Suites Hotel in the very heart of Downtown Charleston, this market is open every Saturday 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM April 9th – November 26th. Additional dates are available during holiday seasons and for the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in May and June. Over 100 local vendors and artists participate in this market. Fresh produce, food concession tables, artisans and crafters are in abundance. There is live music, family activities and other community group displays. Click here for additional information Charleston Farmers’ Market 

Whether you are looking for some fresh vegetables to add to your dinner, activities to keep the kids busy, or local crafts to take home, you will not be disappointed when you attend these local markets! Enjoy! And live like a local!

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Wine Bars in Charleston, South Carolina

Wine bar

There are any number of tours available in Charleston, South Carolina. You can take historic walking tours of the city, carriage ride tours, ghost tours at night, tours of historic houses, tours of forts, coastal tours…the list goes on and on.

But another idea that might be fun is touring some of the many wine bars in Charleston. This article has a detailed list to get you started. Check out a few next time you visit, but always be responsible. Have a designated driver so everyone stays safe!

Click here for Charleston Wine Bars

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