Oysters are bivalve mollusks whose size, shape, and flavor vary from area to area. Used raw or cooked, they are available live in the shell or already shucked and bottled with their liquor.
To scrub oysters:
Using a stiff-bristled kitchen brush, thoroughly scrub the oyster shell, rinsing it under cold running water. Discard any oysters whose shells are not tightly closed.To shuck oysters: Holding the flat side up, push the tip of an oyster knife into one side of the hinge. Pry upward to open the shell. Run the knife around the oyster to cut the muscle that holds the shell halves. Lift and discard the top shell. Cut the oyster from the bottom shell. Reserve the liquor if desired.For other shellfish varieties, see clams, crabs, lobster, mussels, scallops, and shrimp.