Oysters have been a favorite staple for The Sea Islands for centuries.
Early Native Americans harvested oysters, subsisting on the plentiful bivalve populations in Lowcountry waters. At low tide, they rise from tidal salt marsh creeks throughout the area. In fact, the Lowcountry and Golden Isles’ waters are some of the richest oystering areas along the Atlantic coast. A number of oyster canning factories once operated throughout the region.
One of the most traditional ways to eat oysters in The Sea Islands is to steam several bushels in a communal oyster roast. First, rinse them well to remove any excess dirt or mud. Then, build a fire under a thin sheet of metal or wire mesh. Dump them over the sheet or mesh and cover them with a wet burlap bag, soaked well with water or even beer. The wet burlap steams the oysters until they pop open, which indicates they are ready to savor.
When hot, they can be shucked with an oyster knife.
Dip them into drawn butter or cocktail sauce or simply enjoyed au natural. The briny flavor offers a delicious taste. Plus, they are loaded with nutrients. Infact, this shellfish is one of the most nutritionally well-balanced foods. They contain protein, carbohydrates and lipids. And they are an excellent source of Vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin C and Vitamin D.