Activity for the Kids
Students should select two of the following recipes and cook them using the measuring of ingredients to re-enforce math skills.
Photo of an oyster Months with an R are oystering months. As the days get shorter crabbing gear is stowed and boats are set up for the oyster harvest. These delectable bivalves are harvested using hand tongs, winch-powered tongs and by dredging from skipjacks.

Oyster shuckers deftly evict the mollusks from their homes presenting the plump, delicate, slightly salty Crassostrea virginica to grateful diners worldwide. These elusive creatures appear even more so when one realizes they switch their sex during their lifetime. All oysters begin life as males and become females after a couple of years. It even appears they can detect sexual imbalances among them and switch back to become males again as needed.

Female oysters spawn millions of eggs at a time and the fertilized oyster larvae, or spat, float for many weeks until they settle on a hard surface and begin to develop a shell. Spat looks like grayish dirt. When it settles onto a shell, rock or piling to begin development it is called spatfall.

Grades of shucked oysters:

Maryland Oyster Recipes

Cream of Oyster Stew
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • oyster liquor
  • 1 10.5 ounce can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 pint Maryland oysters, standards
Melt butter in a two quart sauce pan. Saute celery, onion and carrots in melted butter for 5 minutes. Add white pepper and liquor that has been drained from oysters. Add mushroom soup and milk; stir until smooth. Heat to low simmer. Add parsley and oysters. Heat until oysters are plump and edges begin to ruffle. Serve immediately. Makes 5 cups total, 4 servings of 1-1/4 cups each.

Suggestion: add a splash of sherry right before serving.

Quick and Easy Fried Oysters
  • 1 to 2 cups dry pancake mix
  • 1 pint shucked Maryland oysters, drained
  • fat or oil for frying
  • salt
  • cocktail or tartar sauce
Put pancake mix into large shallow bowl. Add oysters, a few at a time and toss lightly until well-coated. Shake off excess breading in wire basket. Fry in deep fat at 350 degrees F., until golden brown, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper towel. Repeat process until all oysters are cooked. Salt lightly and serve with cocktail or tartar sauce. Makes 4 servings, about 8 oysters each.

Note: Equal results can be obtained by frying oysters in 1 to 2 inches hot fat or oil in large fry pan. Keep turning oysters until browned.

Traditional Maryland Oyster Stew
  • 1 pint shucked Maryland oysters, with liquor
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine or butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • seafood seasoning, if desired
In 4-quart pan, cook oysters, with liquor, over low heat until edges of oysters just begin to curl. Add milk, margarine and butter, salt and pepper. Heat slowly until hot; do not boil. For an extra zip, sprinkle seafood seasoning on each serving. Makes about 6 cups.

Skipjack Oyster Dressing
  • 2 large stalks celery
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine or butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon and pepper seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon mace
  • 1/8 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1/8 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 pint shucked Maryland oysters, with liquor
  • 8 slices day-old bread cubed
Finely chop celery and onions. Saute in margarine or butter until tender. Mix in seasonings. Add oysters with liqor and simmer until edges of oysters just begin to curl. Remove from heat and gently mix in bread cubes. Adjust moistness with water as desired. Makes about 4 cups dressing (allow about 1/2 cup per pound for fish; 1 cup per pound for poultry). Note: For an extra special tangy taste, core and finely chop 2 medium apples and add with celery and onions when cooking. Yield will increase about 1/2 cup.

Peace Maker
  • 1 loaf Italian bread
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1/2 pint (8 ounces shucked Maryland oysters, drained
  • Flour, for sprinkling
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon horsradish
Slice bread lengthwise; scoop out soft bread inside to form a shell. In skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Remove and drain. Sprinkle oysters with flour and fry in bacon fat until browned on both sides. Remove and keep warm. Slice tomatoes and cook in remaining bacon fat until heated through, 15 to 20 minutes. Place cooked bacon, oysters and tomatoes in bread. Cut bread diagonally into slices. Mix sour cream and horseradish and serve as a sauce. Makes 4 servings.

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