Eat Oysters in months with an "r"?

Is there any truth to the old yarn about only eating oysters in a month with a letter “r” in the name? If so, why are oysters safe to eat in March but off limits in May?

Re: Don't eat Oysters in months with an "r"?

I’d heard this too. I read that it harks back to a time when oysters were transported by trains and couldn’t stay fresh in summer. Sounds plausible. In my book, there isn’t a day of the year when you should avoid them, just as long as they are absolutely fresh.

Re: Don't eat Oysters in months with an "r"?

Apparently there is a foundation of truth to your old yarn. Mollusks taken from the gulf of Mexico between March and October are more likely to infected with vibro vulnificus which is the nasty bacterium that induces the unpleasant side effects that have so many otherwise sane people terrified of the delicious little raw oyster. The warmer the water and the higher the temperature at which the oyster are shipped and stored, the greater the danger.

Another reason is oysters are in the habit of spawning in warmer weather and they don’t taste as good.

Apparently old wives and their crusty sailors husbands knew what they were talking about.

The source for this answer was The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten