The name Oyster is used
for a number of different groups of mollusks which grow for the
most part in marine or brackish water.
The "true oysters"
are the members of the family Ostreidae, and this includes the
edible oysters, which mainly belong to the genera Ostrea,
Crassostrea, Ostreola or Saccostrea.
Examples are the Edible Oyster, Ostrea edulis, the
Olympia Oyster Ostreola conchaphila, and the Eastern
Oyster Crassostrea virginica.
Oysters can be canned, eaten
raw or cooked. When caught, like all shellfish they have an
extremely short shelf-life. They should be fresh when consumed
or serious illness can result. Additionally, oysters can host
various illness-causing pathogens. Therefore, consumption of raw
oysters should be done with caution. Researchers in Oregon have
invented a self-shucking oyster.
Farm raised oysters are listed
at a "Best Choice" by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's
Seafood Watch Program.