It may not be the Valentine’s Day we expected, but lockdown lovers and sassy singletons can still indulge from the comfort of their own home with Aldi’s Specialbuy Scottish Oysters.
On sale from today (11th February), there’s no need to shell out for the romantic delicacy, because love struck Aldi customers can pick up a pack of six fresh Scottish Oysters for just £2.99 (360g).
They do say the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach and at these everyday amazing prices, there really is no reason to be shellfish this Valentine’s Day.
The oysters are being supplied to Aldi specially for Valentine’s Day by a co-operative of small-scale shellfish farmers based on the West Coast of Scotland, who belong to the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group.
Grown in mesh bags that are laid on low trestles on the shore at the low tide mark, the oysters grow naturally by feeding from the nutrient-rich tidal flows of Scotland’s seas. As the oysters grow, they are checked daily by the farmers and regularly sorted by hand to ensure optimum quality.
Derek Sharp, Commercial Manager at Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group, said: “With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it is great to see Aldi support our small-scale farmers, who work collaboratively to provide the best quality oysters.
“Our oyster farms are Friend of the Sea certified, which demonstrates the use of responsible management systems, sustainability of production, social accountability and full traceability. Aldi customers can be confident that they are buying top quality produce.”
Although typically associated with all things romance, oysters also boast a wealth of health benefits. Rich in both vitamins and minerals, they are a fantastic source of Omega-3, meaning that it won’t just be your other half looking after your heart this Valentine’s Day.
Graham Nicolson, Group Buying Director, Aldi Scotland, said: “Oysters are known to be a delicacy, and we are really pleased to be working with the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group to give our customers a taste of luxury, at excellent value, this Valentine’s Day.
“This is another step forward in our championing of top-tier Scottish produce, and a chance for customers to celebrate their love in style. Aldi’s oysters will make the perfect appetiser for a special Valentine’s feast at home.”
Aldi’s fresh Scottish oysters are available from all UK stores from today (11th February) while stocks last. You can find your nearest Aldi store here.
‘A day in the life’ of an oyster farmer
Gordon Turnbull, Isle of Mull Oysters Ltd
“An oyster farmer’s schedule depends on the tide and my days are dictated by the moon. Typically, I’ll arrive at my oyster shed on the Isle of Mull around 7am to sort and grade the oysters from the previous day.
“I’ll wait for the tide to go out which reveals our trestle tables, home to between three and four million oysters at any one time.
“Then its go, go, go. The oysters that aren’t ready for market are returned to the shore. We’re really working against the tide as we only have a short window, between two and three hours, when our trestle tables are visible above the water.
When the tide comes back in we can take a short break and then its all go again a few hours later in the afternoon.
“This is my typical day during spring tide, which occurs twice each lunar month, during full or new moons when the average tidal ranges are slightly larger. A typical spring tide lasts for about seven to 10 days and during this time, we work seven days a week.
“Neap tides occur twice a month as well: when the sun and moon are at right angles to the Earth. When this happens, the tide does not go out far enough for us to access our trestle tables, so it’s a time for the oysters to relax and concentrate on growing, and I can get on with paperwork and general maintenance on the farm.
“It takes an oyster three to four years before it is ready for market, so there is a lot of checking and sorting involved in the job. It’s important that as the oysters grow, they are rearranged so that they live next to ones of similar size: this helps the oysters get sufficient nutrients from the sea and allows them to grow at an optimum rate.
“The conditions at the moment are perfect for harvesting oysters. High pressure is great because it makes the tide go out more, and that combined with clear, cold days is just ideal. Oysters tend to triple in size between June and October, so we spend the winter months sorting and harvesting, and the summer months sorting and carrying out the husbandry that creates the best possible oyster.
“Being part of the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group has been so important in helping me to grow my business, particularly over the past year. The work they do on behalf of us is just terrific, and it allows us to put all our focus on growing the best tasting oysters.”
Don’t know how to shuck?
Ideally you need an oyster shucking knife, but any other type of stout, short-bladed knife will do.
- Wrap a tea towel over one hand and use it to hold the oyster firmly, the flattened side facing upwards.
- In the other hand, place the tip of the shucking knife at the base of the hinge (sharp end of the oyster), twist the knife using pressure, then lever the knife upwards, or twist it to prise the hinge open.
- Slide the knife right along and under the top shell to release the oyster and remove the top shell.
- Try and hold the oyster level so as not to spill any tasty juices (especially if you are eating raw).
- Use the knife to cut along the bottom shell to make sure the oyster is free and clear of that shell too.
Serve the oysters as soon as possible after opening. They can be enjoyed as they are, or with a simple squirt of lemon juice. Many people enjoy with a sprinkle of tabasco sauce.
Grilled Oysters with Butter
By Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group
Serves 2 people
6 whole live oysters
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of unsalted Scottish butter, softened
Squeeze of lemon juice
Cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon of parsley, chopped very finely
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 4 minutes
Ready in: 14 minutes
- In a bowl, mix together all of the sauce ingredients until well combined.
- To keep the oysters upright, use piles of rock salt or rice if you don’t have any salt.
- Divide the butter mixture between the shell and place under the grill for 2-4 minutes.