Unique Oyster Facts
We’ve been eating them (and a lot of them) for a very long time.
Oysters have been around for millions of years and have been a delicacy since the early days of civilization. Today, around 2 billion oysters are eaten every year.
Oysters are the canary of the ocean.
One oyster filters 50 gallons of water each day. A healthy one-acre reef of oysters filters 24 million gallons of water each day, which is enough water to fill 36 Olympic sized swimming pools!
You probably won’t find a pearl in your oyster.
Certain species of oysters are more likely to produce pearls, while other harvested solely for food. Edible oysters belong to the Ostreidae family, and pearl oysters are part of the Pteriidae family.
They hold back fierce waves.
Oyster reefs provide an effective barrier to strong waves absorbing as much as 76 to 93 percent of wave energy, reducing erosion and preventing flooding during storms.
There are five species of oysters.
There are hundreds of varieties of oysters, but they all come from the same 5 species. All 5 species can be found in U.S. waters along the East, West and Gulf coasts.
Oysters have a long life span.
Most oysters can live up to 20 years in captivity.
They can also change their gender.
Oysters start out and mature as male and change genders based on environmental, nutritional and physiological stresses.
Oysters have great health benefits.
Oysters are a very nutritionally balanced source of food, consisting of 23 percent carbohydrates, 33 percent fat and 44 percent protein. Oysters are rich in minerals, such as calcium and zinc, and vitamins A and B12.
Oysters shells can be used in your garden.
Don’t toss your oyster shells just yet. You can save them and crush them up to use in your garden. The oyster shell is high in calcium which can improve the pH balance of the soil. The nutrients also strengthen the plants helping your garden flourish!
There’s a world record for most oysters eaten in 3 minutes.
Colin Shirlow, known as The Oyster King, made the Guinness World Record in 2005 for the most oysters eaten in 3 minutes. He ate an astounding 233 oysters!
Unique Oyster Facts in Panama City
The same type of oyster tastes different depending on where it was raised.
The oyster species native to the Gulf Coast is the Crassotrea virginica, but this does not mean they all taste the same. Oysters develop a flavor profile from the environment. Different bodies of water vary in salinity levels and types of nutrients, all which affect the flavor of an oyster.
Gulf Coast oysters don’t change much in flavor throughout the year.
Gulf Coast waters stay warm and never cool down much. Because of the warm waters, the oysters never go dormant or have to store up a glycogen food supply like oysters in northern areas. They stay mild and somewhat soft all year round.
Panama City is home to not one, but two, national oyster shucking champions!
Panama City native Honor Allen won the 2016 U.S. National Oyster Shucking Championship, earning a spot in the 2017 International Oyster Opening Championship in Ireland. Allen was born and raised in Panama City and has been working at Hunt’s Oyster Bar since he was 18, where he shucks about 1,000 oysters a day. Mike Martin, also a Panama City native, held the title for three consecutive years from 2010-2012.
Gene’s Oyster Bar in Panama City has its own historical marker.
Generations of families have been eating at Gene’s Oyster Bar since it opened it’s doors in 1969. The original building, built in 1910, was consumed by a major fire and rebuilt in 1930. The restaurant was previously known as Hiram Conrad’s Oyster Bar until 1969 when it became home to Gene’s Oyster Bar.
How are oysters prepared? In Panama City, you’ll find oysters that are always fresh and cooked just right!
There’s no shortage of oysters in Panama City, serving up the tasty dish in almost every way, from raw oysters to baked or fried, with a unique spin on flavors at each restaurant you visit. At Gene’s Oyster Bar, oysters are served on the half shell and shucked right in front of you! If you’re looking for oysters with a little punch, try the cajun baked oysters at Captain’s Table Fish House or enjoy a po’ boy topped with oysters from Millie’s Cafe. Chef Chris Infinger at g. Foley’s creates a unique flavor combination serving fried oysters with smoked chili aioli, andouille sausage, and red pepper. Panama City doesn’t disappoint with culinary options, and you’ll find something to please every palate! An old myth claims the best time to eat oysters are in months without an “r” – but in Panama City, we enjoy them all year round. In Panama City, you can enjoy oysters all ways always.