Oysters have been a favorite staple for islanders for centuries.
Early Native American harvested oysters, subsisting on the plentiful bivalve populations in Lowcountry waters. At low tide, oysters can be seen rising from tidal saltmarsh creeks throughout the area. In fact, Hilton Head and Daufuskie’s waters have some of the richest oystering areas along the Atlantic coast. A number of oyster canning factories once operatied throughout the region.
One of the most traditional ways to eat these mullusks on Daufuskie Island is to steam several bushels in a communal roast.
First, rinse the oysters well to remove any excess dirt or mud. Then, build a fire under a thin sheet of metal or wire mesh. Dump them over the sheet or mesh and cover them with a wet burlap bag, soaked well with water or even beer. The wet burlap steams the them until they pop open, which indicates they are ready to savor.
When hot, shuck them with an oyster knife, dipped into drawn butter or cocktail sauce. Or simply enjoyed au natural. The briny flavor offers a delicious taste of the Lowcountry. One of the most nutritionally well-balanced foods, oysters contain protein, carbohydrates and lipids. They are an excellent source of Vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin C and Vitamin D.