Can You Freeze Oysters?

Oysters are wonderful, but it can be tough to know how many will fill you up. What if you end up full, but you have some left over? What if you need them stored for a lengthy period of time? Freezing comes to mind of course, but can you freeze oysters?

Yes, it’s perfectly fine to freeze oysters. Just make sure they’re clean and stored properly. Oysters should last around a year in the freezer. 

That’s the long and short of it, but you might need more detailed instructions depending on whether your oyster is shelled, shucked, fresh or even done rockefeller style. 

Below, we’ll give you the detailed explanations for what you have to do and why, then summarize them in step-by-step bullet points for ease of use.

What Is The Recommended Way To Freeze Oysters?

It’s a good idea to freeze them while they’re still in their shell. Tempting though it might be to save on storage space by shucking them first, keeping them in the shell will better retain their flavor. Plus, it’s a lot less messy this way!

Speaking of mess, do what you can to ensure this is as clean as possible. Give them a deep washing and rinsing to remove any sand that might be on them. This will make the thawing process a lot cleaner for you down the road.

Once you’ve got them nice and clean, go ahead and put them in a ziplock freezer bag. Label that bag with today’s date, and you’re done, go ahead and put them in the freezer until you’re ready to chow down on ’em!

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Keep the oyster in it’s shell if at all possible.
  • Give them a deep cleaning, rinsing them out to remove any trace of sand or dirt.
  • Place the oysters in a freezer-safe bag. Label that bag with today’s date.
  • Put the oysters in the freezer, keep them there for as long as needed.

How To Freeze Fresh Oysters

Now we know how to freeze the typical shelled oysters, but what about the live ones? Is there anything to keep in mind when trying to freeze fresh oysters?

The only thing that’s different here is to make absolute sure that they’re still alive, and try to keep them that way.

It’s every bit as important as before to give the oyster a deep cleaning. Get rid of all that sand and dirt, which you’re very likely to see on an oyster taken straight from the beach!

While you’re cleaning it, that’s a good time to check to make sure they’re still breathing. Give them a tap on the shell. There should be some movement, the shell should be tightening up on contact.

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If there’s no noticeable movement when you tap it, or if the shell’s already been opened, you can assume the oyster is no longer with us. At that point, you might want to just throw it away.

Otherwise, if you’re looking to freeze the fresh oysters while they’re shelled, follow the same instructions as above. Just place them in the freezer carefully so as not to put them at any risk.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Keep the oyster in it’s shell. This is required, as removing them from the shell will kill them.
  • Check to ensure the oyster is still alive. Tap it and see if it moves.
  • Give the oysters a deep cleaning, rinsing them out to remove any trace of sand or dirt.
  • Place the oysters in a freezer-safe bag. Label that bag with today’s date.
  • Put the oysters in the freezer, keep them there for as long as needed.

Can You Eat Frozen Oysters Raw?

Obviously fresh oysters are already uncooked, so freezing a raw oyster and freezing a fresh oyster are one in the same. 

But if you’re doing so with the intent of eating them raw later, we’re going to have to put the kibosh on that. Eating a raw oyster after freezing it is a bad move.

You see, it’s only safe to eat raw oysters most of the time because the oyster is still alive up until it’s been eaten. That’s what ensures that they don’t turn rancid or spoil at all, and gives you little risk of nasty bacteria. 

But oysters can’t actually survive the freezing process. Once you freeze the raw oysters they will die. As such, despite being perfectly safe to eat at the time you froze them, eating them raw right after thawing them out is a bad idea.

As such, you should only use those oysters in cooked dishes. Soups or casseroles would be a good recommendation. But really, just cook them any way you want. Just don’t eat them raw at that point!

How To Freeze Shucked Oysters

We’ve established the proper way for freezing shelled oysters at this point, but what about shucked oysters? Sure we recommend doing it shelled if possible, but sometimes you might not be able to do that.

If your space is limited, it’s a perfectly understandable thing to shuck them first. And this is a slightly different process, so let’s look into that.

First of all, shuck every oyster that hasn’t been opened yet. After that, what you’ll want to focus on doing is separating the oyster meat from the liquor. 

Take the meat under the tap and rinse it out to get rid of sand and dirt. As always, a good cleaning is a key step. Meanwhile, you’ll want to strain the oyster liquor, getting rid of sand from that, as well as any shell pieces.

After that, pour the liquor into a freezer-safe bag and place the meat inside that. Make sure that the oyster meat is completely submerged for best results. 

From there, you know what to do. Label the bag with the date, and then put it in the freezer until the time comes to consume it!

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Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Separate the meat from the liquor.
  • Rinse the meat under the tap to remove sand and dirt.
  • Strain the liquor to remove any sand or large shell pieces.
  • Place the liquor and meat in a freezer-safe bag, ensure that the meat is fully submerged.
  • Label that bag with today’s date.
  • Put the oysters in the freezer, keep them there for as long as needed.

How Long Can Oysters Be Frozen?

Many will tell you that you can freeze anything and have it last forever. Or at the very least, for a long enough time that there’s not really anything to worry about. 

But the truth is even frozen foods will probably have a shelf life, even if it can stay good for a long while.

They might be safe to eat indefinitely, arguably, with the proper storage but the quality can still deteriorate over time.

In the case of oysters, they certainly last a lot longer in the freezer than they do in the fridge or at room temperature. Once they’ve been frozen, they can be eaten at any point in the next 12 months and still be as good as ever.

Still, that’s not to say they’ll expire after a year. They shouldn’t be going off while frozen, period, so they should still be safe to eat after those 12 months.

That being said, it’s very much recommended that you eat them within those 12 months, for the best results and highest quality.

How To Freeze Oysters Rockefeller

Now we’re getting more into a specific oyster dish. We all know that oysters Rockerfeller is delicious, but what if you end up making too much? What if you find yourself with a bunch of leftovers?

You might not think it possible to freeze them, considering the way the food is prepared. But it turns out that oysters and sauce actually freeze pretty well.

Just remember, like we’ve already talked about, it’s not safe to eat them raw. Fortunately you’re not likely to tell the difference between raw and cooked Oysters Rockerfeller anyway. The sauce and varied flavorings will achieve about the same taste.

Now then, to freeze these, you’ll want to pack them as tightly as possible in cling film. This will make sure that the meat doesn’t separate itself from the shell. 

Pack this into a freezer bag and label them, like normal. Place this in the freezer. After thawing them out, you’ll want to put these on a baking tray and cook them for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit before eating them.

How To Thaw Frozen Oysters

Obviously if you’re going to be freezing oysters, it’s important to also know how to defrost them when the time comes. And as it turns out, if you’ve ever thawed anything out before, you’re probably not in for any major surprises.

The best route here, as it often is, is to first transport them from the freezer into the refrigerator. Raise the temperature nice and slow, from being frozen to being merely cold!

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You do need some time to get this done, it has to be done well enough in advance. Your best bet is to move them to the fridge the day before you plan on eating them. So make sure to plan this out properly.

A good 24 hours is what they need to properly thaw in the fridge, so keep that in mind. Are you planning to eat them for lunch or dinner? That’s important to consider there.

After thawing, you’ll want to take them out and cook them as soon as possible. Remember, you can’t eat oysters raw after they’ve been frozen! 

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Remove the oysters from the freezer and place them in the refrigerator.
  • Let them sit for about 24 hours.
  • Make sure to cook them as soon as possible after defrosting!

Is There A Difference Between Thawing Shelled Or Shucked Oysters?

The freezing process was a little bit different between the two, so you might figure the same could be true for thawing. However, that’s not the case.

Whether they were frozen shelled or shucked, you still just have to move them from the freezer to the fridge for 24 hours. 

If you pay close attention to them as they thaw, you might find shelled ones take a little bit longer than shucked oysters. Even so, a full day is enough for either of them.

And in both cases, you’ll want to cook them as soon as you’re sure they’re thawed out. Otherwise you might find yourself at risk of food poisoning, and nobody wants that!

Can Oysters Be Refrozen?

Refreezing oysters is highly discouraged. It’s fine to freeze them once but doing it a second time will likely destroy their quality. 

It’s thought to ruin the texture of the oyster meat, and will very likely cause the oysters to spoil as well. That’s a bad time right there, one that you’d best look to avoid.

This is actually the case with most shellfish. Refreezing them will reduce their flavor and their freshness. Even if it was safe to eat, you probably wouldn’t like the results anyway.

What Does Oyster Taste Like?

It’s a bit tough to describe the taste of oysters because it can change a little bit depending on how you eat it, and of course, how it’s prepared.

But the dominant tastes will be salty, buttery and a coppery. Oysters should feel gooey, a little chewy and firm in your mouth.

The type of oyster, among other things, can cause the taste and texture to vary a little bit.

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In Conclusion…

Freezing oysters is perfectly fine, nothing wrong with doing that. Like a lot of things, they’ll last a long time, around 12 months, before losing their freshness in the freezer.

The process can vary a bit depending on what oyster you’re talking about, but the key is always to keep them clean and store them in a freezer-safe bag. 

As long as they’re properly stored, they can be kept for as long as a year before losing their quality. Just make sure to cook them as soon as they’ve been thawed out!