Half Shell Oyster Varieties
In North America there are at least 150 varieties of fresh oysters available for chefs to choose from for their menus. Yet all of these choices come from only 5 types of oysters: Kumamoto, Pacific oyster, Atlantic (Eastern) oyster, Olympia, and European Flats are the 5 species of oyster available in North America. It is from these 5 species that all the varieties spawn from.
Oyster flavor profiles have advanced to the point of being akin to wine tasting. Connoisseurs discuss the salinity & complexity of the oyster, the finish, the hints of melon or cucumber. Other common tastes found in oysters include seaweed, mineral, iron, copper, sweet, vegetal, lettuce, umami and mushroom. It can be rather daunting to remember it all. Below you will find our index to over 70 West Coast oyster varieties and 60 East Coast oyster varieties, as well as maps to oyster appellations. Each oyster profile includes flavor characteristics, oyster descriptions and seasonal availability.
Check-out the link for information on oyster cultivation methods and their effects upon oyster flavor profiles. Or see oyster farming for more detailed information about oyster aquaculture. Also, see shellfish storage for the best way to hold your shellfish. And our link to oyster shucking styles has descriptions and video of how to shuck oysters.
Oysters Index by Region
Current Fresh Oyster Availability
- Pacific Northwest varieties from Penn Cove Shellfish Oysters
- East Coast oyster varieties from JP’s Shellfsh
A 4th Generation Oyster Fisherman, and Family Ties to Oyster Industry
Comments from before Site Migration