Are oysters alive when you eat them?

We were enjoying some awesome oysters yesterday, and there’s something I’ve always wondered about: Are they oysters still alive when they’re on the half-shell? I’ve never seen them move. You’d think if they were still alive they’d react when you squeeze the lemon on them or apply the horseradish and cocktail sauce.

Obviously they don’t survive my molars. :smiley:

Just a thought, but since oysters are cold-blooded and kept chilled until they’re actually brought to the table couldn’t they be “stunned”?

Could be. The shells are sitting in a bed of ice.

Unless you see they are cooked, yes the oysters are alive when you eat them.

If you eat raw oysters, you will see an open shell. If you tap on it, the oyster will close the shell. Then it is safe to eat the oyster. If you tap on an open shell and it doesn’t close the oyster is dead and it is not safe to eat.

Yummy! :dubious:

They’re not stunned, they’re pinin’.

I thought you just slid and swallowed without chewing. If so, what’s the exact point? How much can you taste?

Interesting. I didn’t know that. If you plan to cook the oystersf instead of eating them raw, is it still not safe to buy dead oysters?

The whole point of the lemon slice is not to flavour the oyster but that you touch the slice to the oyster and the oyster should move, demonstrating that it is alive and safe to eat.

Not the Norwegian Blues. They prefer kippin’ on their backs.

All of the oysters (in shells) I see at the store have their shells closed.

I like the lemon for extra flavour. The oysters themselves were very tasty though. I asked where they came from, but I don’t remember the name. Someplace on Puget Sound, anyway. I really should get a shellfish license. There are oysters at Birch May State Park, and I’m told they’re especially easy to gather after a storm.

More than enough, in my opinion. Even if you could swallow the horrid little phlegm ball without it touching your tongue, there’s still the vile juice to contend with.

I missed this one. I must disagree with our esteemed Messr. TWDuke. There’s no point swallowing oysters whole. You have to chew the meat, which isn’t at all like phlegm.

Every oyster I’ve seen always has it shell closed regardless. Actually as I come to think of it, if the shell is closed it’s alive and fresh, if it’s open its dead and ought to be tossed. I think. I admit I’m not positive. I’m sure it’s true of mussels at least.
Also, and I could be wrong again (probably am), but I think that the trauma of shucking an oyster actually kills the little buggers.

Given that a chicken, which has a brain of sorts, can survive the trauma of having its head cut off, I don’t think the damage due to being shucked is enough to kill an oyster outright.

I’ve had oysters squirm a bit while being eaten, so yes, they’re alive.

Yes, unless cooked the oysters are alive. But they have no brain and only a rudimentary nervous system and aren’t likely to ‘feel’ much pain. Unlike Colibri I’ve squirted lemon juice on many an oyster and applied horseraddish and cocktail sauce to many others, and I’ve stabbed most of them with those little oyster forks like you do if you don’t slide them out of the shell into your mouth, and I’ve yet to see any reaction at all.

The shells are always closed.
Some of the tastiest oysters (IMHO) are from Apalachicola. (And I hope, given the situation, they have the chance to stay that way.)
If we are not going to eat them right away, we store them in the 'fridge with the bag open wide because they are indeed still alive and need to breathe.
If we eat them raw we might have a tiny bit of hot sauce and/or cocktail sauce with horseradish, but not too much. I love them roasted, though.
And yes, we do chew–they are to be savored. :slight_smile:

I’ve had them pried directly off mangrove roots, so they were a good bit fresher (and hence perhaps more lively) than any oyster served in a restaurant.

Color me shocked to know that oysters are still alive when served. I’ve never had oysters, and am not a shellfish eater in any case, but are other shellfish still alive when served to US consumers?

When I was in Japan, I went to a couple of restaurants that served living sea life, see here, and here, but I was almost certain Americans, in general, would be squicked by eating anything living.

OH OH! It never occurred to me that they may be alive!! That is absolutely disgusting. I hated oysters before. I super-ultra-mecha-Godzilla hate them now.