It’s The Food Of Love — But How On Earth Do You Shuck An Oyster?

by | Jan 22, 2024


Oysters have a rich and somewhat romantic history, often associated with luxury, love, and aphrodisiac qualities. And with Valentine’s Day approaching, sharing these delicate creations may add to the romantic ambiance so many of us desire.

Silhouette of couple kissing on a beach.

How did oysters become associated with love and romance? Read on.

Since days gone by oysters have been considered aphrodisiacs, believed to enhance sexual desire due to their shape and the idea that consuming these interesting little ditties could boost one’s libido.

Nine opened oysters on a bed of salt.

The ancient Romans and Greeks associated oysters with love and fertility. The goddess of love, Aphrodite, was said to have emerged from the sea in an oyster shell, adding to the oyster’s romantic legend.

Marble statue of women leaning on a shell with blue sky.

Giacomo Casanova, the famous 18th-century Italian adventurer and seducer, was known for consuming tremendous amounts of oysters. He believed them to be a powerful aphrodisiac that would help to enhance his romantic interludes.

Image of Giacomo Casanova in black and white.

Oysters have been considered a luxurious and decadent food throughout history, because they were considered a rare find and the effort required to harvest and transport them contributed to their association with prosperity and romance.

Oyster shell with pearl inside laying on the beach.

Oysters are often served in upscale and romantic settings, such as candlelit dinners, seaside restaurants, or special occasions like weddings and anniversaries. And sharing oysters can be seen as a sensual and intimate experience.

Red candle with heart at base surrounded with four whine glasses on a table with napkins and silverware.

Oysters are frequently paired with champagne, creating a classic and romantic combination. The sparkle of champagne complements the salty taste of oysters making this duo a popular choice for celebrations and romantic occasions.

Four bottles of champagne with three glasses on a shelf with gold background.

Other Than Beating Them With A Rock, Let’s Learn The

Proper And Safe Way To Shuck An Oyster!

Five frames of instruction how to shuck and oyster using towel and knife.

Photo: From Gatherings Casual-Fancy Meals To Share Cookbook - America's Tests Kitchen


  • Baking sheet
  • Foil
  • Oyster knife
  • Thick kitchen towel or glove


1: Safety first: Wrap a thick kitchen towel or use a heavy kitchen glove to protect your hand from the sharp oyster knife.

2: Clean the oyster: Scrub the oyster shell under cold, running water to remove any dirt or debris.

3: Hold the oyster:Place the oyster flat-side up on a towel on a stable surface.

4: Locate the hinge: The hinge is the point where the two shells meet. It’s usually the narrowest part of the oyster.

5: Insert the knife: Insert the tip of the oyster knife into the hinge at a slight angle. Wiggle the knife into the hinge gently until you feel the knife’s tip slide into the hinge.

6: Twist the knife: Once the knife is in the hinge, twist it to pry the shells apart. BE PATIENT AND GENTLE TO AVOID DAMAGING THE OYSTER OR INJURING YOURSELF.

7: Open the shell: When shells begin to separate, twist knife to pop the hinge.

8: Detach the oyster: Run knife along top shell, scraping the muscle from the shell to release the oyster. Run the knife under the oyster to detach it from the bottom shell, being careful not to spill the delicious oyster liquor.

9: Inspect and serve: Check the oyster for any shell fragments. If necessary, remove them, and serve the oyster on a bed of ice with your preferred condiments.


Hand dipping oyster into cocktail sauce on a plate with ice surrounded by other open oysters and lime wedges.