Oysters are delicious little treats from the sea, so of course they have evolved fairly formidable defences. The biggest, of course, is their hard shell combined with their powerful muscles. Even after they have been caught, it can be hard to open them without losing a finger.
However, if you do open oysters, safely, you can reap the delicious rewards contained within. All you need is an oyster knife, and a towel. Watch this video to learn more.
Oysters must be alive prior to eating, and if you find any dead ones they must be discarded. When you get your oysters, make sure all of them are alive. Closed oysters should not rattle or make noise when shaken, and opened oysters should close when tapped on the shell. Make sure you don’t have any fingers in the shell while its closing.
The towel is used to both grip the slippery shell, and give you something for you knife to hit if it slips. A sturdy glove is also recommended, as the front of the shell is often incredibly sharp.
Kitchen Conundrums with Thomas Joseph provides a great tutorial on how to identify and shuck oysters.