The Importance of Our Ocean

Our oceans are full of wonder, beauty, diversity, and mystery making them arguably one of the most intriguing ecosystems on Earth. However, if you do not live in proximity to the ocean or have spent time exploring it, its importance may be overlooked. Out of sight, out of mind right?

On Thursday, June 8th, 2017 the world will be celebrating World Oceans Day! Here in Halifax, Nova Scotia we will be also celebrating Oceans Week from June 2-11th. There will be plenty of exciting ocean themed events being carried out in the city and the province. To check out a full list of events click here. Afishionado will also be at the Maritime Museum for the Ocean + You event on June 2nd from 10am-3pm offering a fun, traditional Japanese fish printing activity called Gyotaku!

To kick off this ocean themed week we have provided a list of the 3 reasons the ocean is so important and why everyone should work to conserve and protect it!

1. The ocean is interconnected with the climate and weather

The ocean conveyor belt! Photo: USGS

The oceans play a crucial role in distributing heat throughout the globe, so life does not freeze at the poles or overheat at the equator. As the sun warms the waters, particularly near the equator, the ocean currents work like a conveyor belt to bring warm water from the south to the north and colder water from the north to the south. Additionally, the ocean absorbs approximately a third of the carbon dioxide we release into the air and is an important reservoir of carbon because it holds 54 times more the atmosphere can. Carbon absorption helps to reduce warming on earth because once in the atmosphere it has a greenhouse gas effect and increases as well as varies global temperatures. However, with the amounts of carbon we are releasing the ocean has become very acidic and leads to the death of many species particularly species with calcium carbonate shells like mussels, scallops, and corals. This is why reducing out carbon footprint is important in protecting the oceans.

2. The ocean provides life

Ocean supports a wide variety of species. Photo: VegNews Magazine

Earth is mostly water, around 70 percent to be more exact! When the ocean is heated the water molecules evaporate form clouds that move inland. This causes the clouds to condense and form rain that falls, providing water and life to everything on earth! Without this cycle there would be no life of Earth. Furthermore, the ocean also provides habitat to approximately 2.2 million different species (or so scientists have estimated) in the ocean. Everything from tiny microscopic organisms like plankton swimming in the water column to the largest mammal on earth the Blue Whale. Ensuring our oceans stay healthy and biologically rich will help to ensure the overall ecosystem maintains its productivity and life continues to flourish.

So many seafood choices, but remember to choose sustainably! Photo: FoxNews

3. The ocean provides us with food

Just as the oceans provide a habitat and water for all species on earth, it also provides food for other species and humans alike. Seafood is an important source of protein for many people around the world. Seafood is filled with great sources of protein, unsaturated fatty acids and a variety of necessary vitamins and minerals. To ensure that we have a good source of seafood in the future, choosing to purchase a variety of seafood that is transparent, local, and harvested or produced with low impact on the environment is critical.

Thai-Flavoured Spot Prawn Bisque

We are celebrating spot prawn season from afar here on the East Coast! We’ll be bringing in Spot Prawns next week for pick up on Thursday June 1st from our Isleville St warehouse location. Please place your orders by Monday, May 29th. www.afishionado.ca/product/fresh-bc-spot-prawns/

 

Thai-Flavoured Spot Prawn Bisque

Courtesy Chef Bill Jones, Deerholme Farm

Ingrdients

1 lb (454 g) Spot Prawns

1 Tbsp (5 mL) salt

1 tsp (5 mL) sugar

2 large
  carrots, peeled and chopped

1 stalk
 celery, chopped

1 large
 onion, peeled and chopped

8 cups (2 L) water

4 slices fresh ginger

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 stalk 
lemon grass, trimmed and cut in chunks

1 bunch cilantro (stems and stocks)

1 lime juice and zest

1 can coconut milk

2 Tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch (mixed with equal cold water)

Salt and pepper to taste Fresh cilantro leaves (or basil)

 

Instructions

Peel prawns (reserve shells) and place in a shallow metal or glass tray, sprinkle lightly with salt and sugar. Cover with boiling water and let sit for 5 minutes, drain and chill.

Place shells on a baking tray and place in a 350 F (180 C)
oven. Roast the shells for 15 minutes, or until they have lightly browned. In a stock pot, add a little oil and add the onion, carrot and celery. Saute until they begin to brown, add water and bring to a simmer. Add the prawns shells, ginger slices, lemon grass, cilantro stems, lime juice, zest and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.

Strain soup, check seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper (or hot sauce if you like it spicy). Mix the cornstarch with cold water and slowly whisk into the hot soup. The mixture will thicken
 as it heats. Before serving stir in the cilantro leaves and cooked prawns. Serve immediately.

www.deerholmefarm.com

www.explorecowichan.ca

How to Enjoy Oysters at Home

Oysters are amazing organisms. They filter feed in the water column, cleaning our waters and diversifying ecosystems. About 95% of the oysters we consume are farmed and, if you are knowledgeable about where they are coming from and how they were grown, they have the potential to be truly sustainable seafood choice. Local Nova Scotian Oysters can be enjoyed at anytime in the year and make for a wonderful (and also impressive) party appetizer.

Step 1: Buy some oysters

Yes, this is obvious, but an important first step. Head to the online Afishionado shop and purchase some oysters! On our shop we currently have a variety of oysters from ShanDaph, Colville Bay and Eel Lake Oyster Farm. However, we this supply is ever-changing as we source from many local suppliers. Check out our new and improved supplier page to find details about their business and the oysters they sell! On the website we offer plenty of options including platters of 25, 50 and 100 oysters and a delicious kimchi mignonette from a local vendor, Cabbage Patch Kimchi, to top the oysters off!

Step 2: Store them properly

If you don’t plan on shucking and consuming the oysters right away, store the oysters in a bowl with a wet towel over it. Storing the oysters with the curved cups facing downwards will also help to preserve the Oysters juices. Afishionado’s fresh Oysters will be happy in this state for up to 3 weeks! However, be careful when storing them over ice because if the ice melts while the oysters are sitting in it, they will die from the freshwater exposure.

Step 3: Shuck the Oysters

Ready to get shucking at one of our past workshops!

Shucking an Oyster can seem like a scary task at first, but it is quite simple and just requires a little bit of practise! So grab yourself a proper oyster knife and some oysters and practise with this informative video.

Other items to have when shucking:

  • A plate with ice to place open oysters
  • A towel to help chuck and wipe away pieces of shell
  • A trash can or bag to discard the shells, can put them in the garden

If you are in need of some more Oyster shucking guidance, Afishionado often hosts Oyster shucking workshops that are fun and informative, with 14 Oysters included in the price!

Step 4: Dressing your Oysters

Oysters are wonderful raw and on their own. You should eat a couple like this to really get a sense of the oyster’s unique taste. However, if you want to go above and beyond the classic squeeze of lemon and a drop of tabasco sauce, here are three ways to do so.

Oysters with chili, ginger and rice wine vinegar

  • 12 oysters
  • ½ thumb-sized piece peeled ginger
  • 6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 red chili
  • a little fresh coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. Shuck your oysters and place them in the half shell on ice
  2. To make the sauce, mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle the sauce over the oysters and serve straight away.

Oysters with Raspberry Mignonette

  • 12 Oysters
  • 3/4 cup raspberries (preferably fresh, but if frozen simply thaw), divided
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Dash of freshly ground white pepper
  1. Add ½ cup raspberries to a fine strainer and force through with the back of a spoon, collecting the juice in a small bowl. Discard the seeds caught in the strainer.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the juice bowl. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but up to 24 hours.
  3. When ready to serve, shuck your oysters and place them in the half shell on ice, then slice the remaining raspberries into slivers. Add about ½ teaspoon mignonette to each oyster on the half shell and place a raspberry sliver on each shell. Serve immediately.

Garlic, Butter and Paprika Grilled Oysters

  • 6 big shell-on oysters
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp, chopped parsley leaves
  • Paprika, to taste
  • 2 tbsp salted butter, melted
  • Lemon wedges, optional
  1. Shuck your oysters and set aside
  2. Top the oysters with the chopped garlic, parsley leaves and season with paprika, then add some melted butter on each oyster
  3. Grill on outdoor grill for about 5-8 minutes or until they are cooked. Serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side.

*Note: you can also bake these in your oven at 375F for 15-20 minutes

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