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Apr '08

Waiter, There’s a Pearl in My Soup (Err…Oyster)!

There is nothing quite like an oyster roast. Standing elbow to elbow with fellow oyster lovers we await the bounty about to be served; oyster knives at the ready, shucking gloves tucked in our belts, bowls of crimson hot sauce scattered across the rough-hewn tables.

A popular coastal tradition, the best oyster roasts are both sacred and informal celebrations of the natural flavors of the sea that ideally take place not far from the waters from which the oysters were taken.

If you’d like to hold your own oyster roast, you’ll have to order several bushels of oysters from your local seafood supplier, but it’s much better to harvest them yourself if you’re lucky to live in an area with an abundance of oysters. There’s a nice article here about the finer points of gathering oysters and running a traditional oyster roast.

If you prefer to grill your oysters instead, Coastal Living has some good tips and recipes here.

According to, oysters are an excellent source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, and D. Four or five medium size oysters supply the recommended daily allowance of iron, copper, iodine, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and manganese. also has some nice in-home recipes here.

After you’ve held your roast, don’t forget to recycle your oyster shells so that they can be used to form new oyster beds for the next generation of oysters. South Carolina residents can recycle their oyster shells at various DNR oyster shell recycling locations. North Carolina also has an excellent oyster shell recycling program.

(Here’s a photo we took of an oyster bed vista in McClellanville, SC.)

Also, below is a taste of a few of the many photos we took at Pethelpers’ 2008 Sucking It Up to Save Lives Oyster Roast at Bowen’s Island in Charleston, SC. The event raised over $13,000 to benefit the new no-kill animal shelter.

While we were at the oyster roast, we were fortunate enough to come across something small and hard in one of our oysters…a pearl!

Alas, unlike Florida’s George and Leslie Brock who were lucky enough to come across a really valuable purple oyster while eating our Apalachicola Selects, our “Pethelper Pearl” is small and rough textured; a rare specimen mainly remarkable for its extremely high sentimental (if not financial) value.

By the way, if you’re curious about how oysters make pearls, click here.

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