How Long Can You Store Oysters?

By Allison Fishman

Published on September 24, 2009

Captain Erik Braun of Fish Hampton recently told me that proper storage would keep fresh oysters alive for months at home. Oysters live in the cupped part of the shell, so to store, he suggests keeping them in a cold part of your refrigerator where they can breathe cupped-side down.

Keeping oysters alive for months seemed preposterous to me, so I looked for validation on the web. Most sites recommend storing them for no more than seven days—Linton Seafood was willing to go up to two weeks. Only British sites like Martins Seafresh mentioned the cupped-side trick. Readers of the UK Guardian inquired about the same long-term storage rumor that I heard, and they're still waiting for an answer.

As an inquisitive and perhaps foolish woman, I'm putting it to the test: I've now consumed oysters that were one month old and have lived to write about it. The flavor is increasingly intense, like an aged steak. Though an intense oyster is not necessarily a good thing, learning how to keep them lively is.

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