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Longstreet Highroad Guide to the Chesapeake Bay

By Deane Winegar

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Chesapeake Bay > Sidebars > American Oyster

Oyster (Crassostrea virginica)

American Oyster

The American Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) that lives in colonies in the Chesapeake Bay is best eaten during September through April, or during months that have the letter r in their name. Proper cooking completely destroys the bacterium Vibrio vulnificus that causes a risk to some people who eat raw oysters. The dangerous bacterium is more likely to be present during warm months. During late spring and summer, the quality and taste of the oyster deteriorates as this bottom dweller uses stored energy to produce spawn, and becomes thin and watery. For the uninitiated, eating this rather gelatinous sea creature any time may be a challenge. Said Jonathan Swift, "He was a bold man that first ate an oyster."

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Published (print): 2000, Published (Web): April 2001, Revised (Web): November 2002, ISBN: 1-56352-544-5
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