Buying & Storing Mussels
They should smell fresh like the sea
When buying Mussels, like any seafood, it should smell fresh like the sea. Find out when the mussels were put on the shelf or delivered to give you an idea of how long the mussels have been out of the water. Fresh mussels should keep for a minimum of 3 days in the fridge. Our mussels keep for up to 5 days due to our low impact methods of harvesting and cleaning. Even in Cornwall we have seen mussels for sale from Devon and insanely from Scotland! This doesn't make sense as we have this wonderful Cornish produce on our doorstep.
They should still have the byssus or 'beard' attached
Don't buy mussels that are too clean! If the byssus or 'beard' has already been removed the mussels wont keep as long. The byssus is physically attached to the mussel meat,if this is pulled off too soon before cooking it can shock the mussel and reduce its shelf life. Store the mussels as they are, leave the cleaning until a few hours before cooking.
Store in the fridge, in newspaper
Store your mussels in the fridge in a lidless container to catch any leaking seawater. Wrapping loosely in damp newspaper can help keep them from drying out and protect them from cold draughts. You don't want live mussels to get too cold and freeze as this will kill them. Don't seal them in a plastic bag as they need air.
Don't soak in water
Don't immerse them in water - fresh or salt. Freshwater will kill them; if left for too long in static salt water the mussels will use up the oxygen and suffocate. This practice used to be done to purge the mussel of any grit, these days all commercial mussel have been purged and purified in a UV deputation system.
Storing Cooked Mussels
Any mussel meat left over from cooking can be pickled, brined or used in dishes like paella or seafood salad. Store in the fridge and use within two days. Alternatively the cooked mussel can be frozen and used in soups or a paella. Let us know if you have any other uses for left over mussel meat, we are always keen to hear ideas on reducing waste!
For further information on handling mussels see Mussels FAQ's
Preparing & Cooking Mussels
Mussels are very quick and easy to prepare; about 5 minutes to clean and 3 minutes to cook!
There is no need to worry about food hygiene issues as long as the guidelines below for preparing mussels are closely followed. Prepare them the same day as you plan to cook as removing the byssus reduces shelf life and it shocks them.
1. Place the mussels in a dry bowl. Don't worry about any mussels that are gaping open at this stage.
2. Remove the byssal threads or 'beard' by pulling from the mussel.
3. Scrape any barnacle off using the back of a knife, but be careful not to crack any of the mussels.
4. Use a colander rinse the mussels under fresh running cold water.
5. Your mussels are now ready for cooking. It is best to use them immediately, but they will keep for a few hours.
1. If any mussels have gaped open again give them a light tap. If the mussel closes up its still safe to use.
2. Use a few centimeters of boiling water in a large pan with a lid.
3. Steam for 3-4 minutes, or until all the mussels have opened.
In less than 15 minutes you can cook up a variety of tasty mussel recipes that all the family will love.