Oysters, difficult to separate from their shells, have always been opened -- or "shucked" -- by hand.
Oysters, difficult to separate from their shells, have always been opened -- or "shucked" -- by hand. But now even that rare and expensive delicacy is bowing down to scientific pressure -- shucking by a micro-wave oven.
This film shows just how science has turned its attention to the little, but very palatable, sea creature -- on an island off the coast of North Virginia, U.S.A.
SYNOPSIS: That palatable and expensive delicacy of the sea, the oyster, has traditionally been opened by hand -- mainly because they are difficult to separate from their shells. But science learns to do all things in time -- even "shucking", as the opening operation is called. On a little off the coast of North Virginia in the United States, an experimental oyster-shucking laboratory has been set up to persuade the shell to release its delectable contents more rapidly. A micro-wave over, into which oysters are fed by a conveyor belt, burns open the shells with just the right temperature -- without cooking or damaging the vital contents. The micro-wave shucker will not, however, replace the traditional human method of prising open the shells with a knife -- it will merely make it a little easier. For the oyster must not be opened more than a small fraction, otherwise the micro-waves will affect the meat.
But that small crack is sufficient to allow a knife to be slipped more easily into the shell -- cutting down shucking-time by more than a third. This is valuable time gained when one shucker handles thousands a week. However, even in this relatively simple field, the machine hasn't yet replaced man -- only made his job easier.