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How To Clean Mussels: An Easy Step-By-Step Guide

    How To Clean Mussels: An Easy Step-By-Step Guide will be your to-go guide whenever you want to make a delicious meal with mussels.

    Mussels are delicious and healthy, but they must be cleaned properly to avoid illness. If you’ve purchased mussels with the shells open or already cleaned, skip this guide. Otherwise, read on for an easy step-by-step guide to cleaning mussels at home!

    You already know mussels are tasty, but they can be difficult to cook. The reality is that it takes about 10 minutes to cook them, the difficult part is to prepare them for cooking, AKA cleaning them.

    Photo by Shapelined on Unsplash

    Cooking mussels is simple. All you need are some aromatics, a grilling pan, and some crusty bread for mopping up the delicious broth they release when cooked.

    But which aromatics? How much to use? And how long do you cook them for? Check out our step-by-step guide on how to clean mussels below and embark on our new series of recipes with mussels. It is the season, after all.

    What are mussels?

    Mussels are one of the most delicious seafood delicacies. The soft fleshy texture and their ability to absorb other flavors make them a popular choice for chefs all over the world. However, cleaning mussels needn’t be a chore – it could be an enjoyable experience!

    Mussels live in clusters. They use a string like seaweed to grip the surface. Before cooking them, this string that is called a beard needs to be removed. Barnacles grow on the outside of mussels’ shells. To remove, scrape off with a blunt knife then rinse quickly under cold water.

    Fotografie creată de Howard Herdi, de la Pexels

    Before cooking the mussels, you have to clean them. The cleaning process contains two parts – soaking and cleaning.

    How long do you soak mussels before cooking?

    The first step in cleaning the mussels is soaking them in water. If you have freshwater mussels use fresh water, if you have saltwater mussels, use water with salt.

    With saltwater mussels, it would be ideal to just soak them in seawater. But it is often difficult to get some water unless you live on the beach, so you can just make your own saltwater using salt and freshwater.

    So, make what you can with what you have, but don’t skip this part. It will help the mussels clean themselves inside and remove the sand. If you skip this step, you will have sand in your mussels. And if you choose the wrong type of water you risk killing them.

    How to clean mussels

    1. Soak them for 30 minutes to an hour in water. If you have freshwater mussels use fresh water, if you have saltwater mussels, use water with salt.
    2. After the mussels clean themselves, you will notice that there is sand on the bottom of the bowl.
    3. It is time to sort them. Discard mussels with cracked shells.
    4. Also, press them a little and if they close, they are safe to eat. If they do not close, it means they are dead and should also be discarded.
    5. Remove the string that comes out of them. Grab it and pull it towards the wider part of the mussel.
    6. Remove as much debris as you can from the outside shell. Use a wire sponge, but don’t exaggerate, just scrub what you can.
    7. After cleaning, rinse them in cold water and they are ready to be cooked.

    In order to get the best results, clean them right before cooking. If you clean them and then leave them in the fridge, they will start to die.

    This is how the mussels might look when you buy them
    A mussel beard, that needs to be removed before cooking.

    Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

    Are mussels nutritious?

    Mussels are a delicious and nutritious source of protein. They’re also a good source of iron, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids. With all of these benefits of mussels, they have been gaining popularity in the culinary world.

    Is it safe to eat mussels?

    A lot of people will probably tell you that it is safe to eat mussels, but the truth is that anyone can have a bad reaction. At the same time, there are a number of ways you can avoid this from happening.

    Make sure to buy them from a trusted source and learn to prepare them. Don’t use the bad mussels, even one bad one can ruin an entire pot of mussels. Less is better in this case.

    Are mussels shellfish?

    Yes, mussels are considered shellfish.

    What happens if you eat too many mussels?

    If you eat too many mussels, you might get sick. So, stick to a balanced diet and maybe eat them 2-3 times a week.

    When should you not eat shellfish?

    You should not eat dead mussels, old mussels, and spoiled mussels.

    How can you tell if mussels are bad?

    If they don’t open during the purging step or during cooking, it’s best to discard them.

    Can mussels be poisonous?

    They can be if they are not fresh enough.

    Are mussels a good source of protein?

    Yes. Mussels are high in protein, and low in fat and calories.

    “Per kJ, mussels have almost as much protein as beef (24 g of protein/600 kJ of lean steak vs. 22 g of protein/600 kJ of mussels).” (Yaghubi E, Carboni S, Snipe RMJ, et al. Farmed Mussels: A Nutritive Protein Source, Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, with a Low Environmental Footprint. Nutrients. 2021;13(4):1124. Published 2021 Mar 29. doi:10.3390/nu13041124)

    How much is a serving of mussels?

    Unless you find yourself on the French Riviera, at an all-you-can-eat mussel restaurant, it’s the general consensus that a serving of mussels is about 20-25 mussels.

    How can I store mussels in the fridge?

    You have to keep them for a short period of time, a maximum of two days, covered with a wet cloth. Don’t keep them in water, they need oxygen to breathe.

    What do you think people should know about mussels? What makes them nutritious? How can we make them taste better?

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