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Oysters and mussels are classic holiday food. No matter how they’re prepared, they make for a festive addition to the table! Read our article to learn how to select and prepare them.

When are they in-season?

Oysters are available year-round. However, they become milkier during their reproduction period, which spans from May to August. And they’re at their yummiest come September. As for mussels, you’ll find them in abundance during the winter and spring, when the waters are still very cold.

How to select them?

Both oysters and mussels should be consumed fresh. We suggest buying them the day before or the day of. One of the biggest signs of freshness is their smell: oysters and mussels should smell like the sea; if they smell pungent, it’s better to toss them.

When selecting your oysters, make sure they are tightly closed. Once open, they should be plump and firm. When selecting your mussels, look for shells that are intact. And they should close slightly when you tap on them with your finger.

Which oyster variety to choose?

The most common varieties sold in grocery stores are Beausoleil, Trésor du large, and Cheebooktook. Harvested in the fresh Atlantic waters, Beausoleil and Trésor du large are loved for their mineral taste and delicate flesh. Cheebooktook is known for its sweetness, which is perfectly balanced by its salty profile.

How to prepare oysters?

Raw oysters: a classic!

Many shellfish lovers prefer to consume oysters raw, with just a splash of lemon juice or homemade vinaigrette. If you’re in the mood for vinaigrette, combine one minced shallot, a quarter cup of cider vinegar, and half an apple, finely chopped.

Rockefeller mode

Feel like something fancy? Rockefeller oysters are elegant and oh-so-easy to make! Simply top each oyster with minced shallots, butter-sautéed spinach, Parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven and enjoy!

Fried oysters: a real treat

To make this recipe, simply scoop the oysters from their shell, dip them in beaten egg, then flour. Coat in breadcrumbs, then fry in oil until golden brown.

How to prepare mussels?

Curry mussels: exotic as can be

This is the perfect recipe for anyone trying mussels for the first time! Simply sauté minced onion in butter. Next, add three tablespoons of curry powder and one cup country-style cream, and bring to a boil. Stir in the mussels, cover, and cook a few minutes, or until all the mussels have opened.

In a paella, why not?

Revisit this Spanish classic by replacing the shrimp or calamari with mussels.

The perfect appetizer

Add a festive air to your happy hour by serving marinated mussels. Simply combine equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then stir in paprika and fresh herbs. Add the mussels to the mixture and let marinate in the fridge at least one hour before serving.

Don’t hesitate to add some festive flair to your holiday menu with oysters and mussels—they’ll turn any evening into a gourmet experience!