We have all heard of mussels yet there are plenty of us out there who have no idea what they taste like. Are they slimy? Are they fishy? Gummy?
There are many assumptions made about the food and for some people it is not easy to try new foods.
Here, we will be explaining thoroughly all about the mussel, explaining what they are, what they taste like as well as delving into ways you can incorporate mussels into your everyday dishes.
What Are Mussels?
So, what are mussels? Mussels are small shellfish and are more often than not sold in their shells.
They come from saltwater habitats and are often sold in restaurants. To put it simply, you can compare the mussel to a clam or an oyster.
How Do You Clean Mussels For Cooking?
The old reputation for mussels was that they were hard to clean and poisonous to eat since they contained neurotoxins. The good news is that this isn’t entirely true. Mussels raised on farms are considered clean and don’t require much scrubbing.
When choosing farm-raised mussels or sea creatures, cleaning is an essential part of the process. You may follow the below steps while cleaning them.
Rinse And Scrubbing
No matter where you choose your mussels, Start by placing your mussels in a bowl and cleaning them under cold running water. Next, remove the debris from the outer shell of the seaweed by rinsing and scrubbing. Finally, get rid of muddy spots properly.
The second and most crucial step is debearding the mussels. Buying mussels that are not farm-raised will undoubtedly result in problems.
Whenever mussels are cleaned, they have a thick membrane called a beard that you should remove.
If you find these beards, you may remove them by pulling them down with your thumb and forefinger. Then, pull them out firmly and discard them after they come out correctly.
Discard The Dead Mussels
After scrubbing and debearding, one must check if there is any gaping in the mussels. If you find it, then check by tapping it with other mussels. If they close the gaping by themselves, you are good to go; else, get rid of them and move to the next.
In some cases, if mussels are not dead, they must be resting or stressing with open gaping.
Do Mussels Have Worms?
Worms grow on the outer layer of the mussels in white color, known as a white worms.
To remove these worms, add the kosher salt in the water and keep it for 15 minutes after whisking properly.
Strain the water after 15 minutes and then you may remove these worms with a knife and rinse the mussels immediately in cold water.
How Are Mussels Cooked And Prepared?
Mussels are easy to prepare and cook once you know how to do so. When you first have your mussel you should be welcomed by the smell of the ocean; this is a sweet and salty smell.
If your mussel does not smell like this or smells off, then throw your mussel out – this is not good to eat.
Alongside this, if your mussel has a cracked shell or is wide open, this is another sign to throw it out.
To cook the mussel, simply place it in boiling water and cook until the shell has opened and releases its fragrant liquor.
Have it cooking on a medium to high heat. To add some flavor, feel free to pour in some wine, pepper, or butter; this helps to bring out the flavor of the mussels.
How Do You Eat Mussels?
Eating mussels is an enjoyable task for you have to get your hands dirty. To eat the mussel, no cutlery is needed.
What you need to do is open up the shell completely by ripping it apart with your hands.
Then will you see the mussel. After that, you will need to use your teeth to tear out the mussel from its shell.
How Do Mussels Taste?
It would be impossible to guess what mussels taste like if you have never eaten it. Does it taste like every other fish? Or does it have a different flavor/texture?
When eating mussels, you will be able to taste the ocean. By this, we mean that salty yet sweet flavor. Its texture is one of a mushroom – it is firm yet soft.
However, it is essential to note that the taste can differ depending on how it is cooked.
When a mussels is cooked to perfection, you will find it tender with a slight chewiness.
On the other hand, when a mussels is undercooked, you will find it will be rubbery and hard to swallow.
The general misconception about mussels is that they taste fishy; however, this could not be further from the truth.
You will not taste the flavor of fish, and if this occurs, this is due to the incorrect preparation of the mussel.
Is There A Difference Between Mussels And Clams?
Many people do not see much of a difference between mussels and clams for they hold many similarities.
The most common opinion is the way they look – they both hold those iconic hard shells and look similar internally.
However, what truly makes them different is the taste. Whilst mussels are referred to as tasting like the ocean and not like fish, clams are known for that powerful saltwater taste and fishiness.
As well as this, unlike the mussel, you can eat clams either raw or cooked.
Types Of Mussels
There are many kinds of mussels around the world. In addition, there are many seafood options of mussels from which one can choose. The mussels live in freshwater rivers or tidal lakes.
Here are the different mussels options:
- Zebra Mussels
- Blue Mussels
- Rabbitsfoot Mussels
- Snuffbox Mussels
- Horse Mussel
Dangers Of Eating Mussels – Is It Poisonous?
Although, you will find seafood lovers all around the world because of the flavors and tropical seafood taste. Apart from the extensive flavor, these seafood-based creatures also come with danger.
Mussels have been famous for a long time but do you know they come with hazardous health risks?
Mussels contain a poisonous neurotoxin that may result in paralyzing and numbing of the mouth, lips, face, and neck if consumed excessively.
How Do I Store Mussels?
If you don’t want to eat or cook the mussels immediately, you may store them in the fridge for several days.
Here are the steps to follow while storing:
- Bring the mussels out of the plastic bag.
- Transfer it to a loose pack or into a mash bag.
- Place the open bag in the bowl and cover it with a cloth.
- Store them in the fridge for several days.
- Drain out the excess water from the bowl daily.
Can We Freeze Cooked Mussels?
Cooked mussels are easy to store in the fridge without a lengthy procedure. After cooking the mussels, one can store them in the refrigerator the next day following these steps:
- After cooking the mussels, wait for them to cool down.
- Bring out the mussels from their shells.
- Place the mussels in a container, if possible, freezer friendly.
- Close the air-tight container.
- Now, the mussels are ready to freeze or store in the fridge or freeze.
How To Tell Mussels Are Bad?
It is typical for food and fruit to go bad after a particular time if they are not taken good care of, and the same is valid for mussels.
While buying the mussels, make sure to purchase the small and closed shells. You should not eat mussels if the mussels shell or covers are open, which may be harmful.
If the mussels don’t smell fresh, they are not good.
However, if you eat bad mussels by mistake, you might feel nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, followed by dizziness.
How To Eat Mussels In Everyday Meals
You will find most people eating mussels in seafood restaurants or as a treat, however that does not mean that it cannot be eaten as an everyday meal.
There are many ways to incorporate mussels into your meal. This is a suitable dish for all and a great way to introduce your family to new cuisines.
Try cooking your mussels in some rich tomato sauce. By doing so, you are enhancing the flavor and developing on this simple dish.
Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potato fries are great to serve with mussels, especially if you are introducing your young child to them. It is an easy “finger food” dish and is easy to prepare.
Pair your mussels with some roasted broccoli. These two foods go hand-in-hand together as they both bring fresh flavors to the table.
Spaghetti is something which you will find many people eating their mussels with. It is a great way to bring out the flavor as well as coming out with a wholesome dish.
White Wine Sauce
White wine sauce is a brilliant way to coat your mussels. It is made using butter, white wine and olive oil and is guaranteed to leave you wanting more.
As well as this you can use any leftover sauce you may have for other dishes such as pasta.
Who doesn’t love garlic bread? Garlic bread is the perfect side dish for mussels and is perfect for creating a meal with substance.
The mussels bring the protein and the garlic bread brings the carbohydrates – what more can you ask for?
Nutritional Value Table – Per Serving
|Calories||14 (calories from fat: 3.2)|
|Fat||0.4 g (1%)|
|Sodium||46 mg (2%)|
|Potassium||51 mg (1%)|
|Cholesterol||4.5 mg (2%)|
Quick Table: Mussels Recipes
|Recipe||Calories Per Serving||Total Preparation Time|
|Seafood Stew||211||30 Minutes|
|Seafood Empanaditas/Empanadas||199||2 Hour 45 Minutes|
|Pasta With Clams, Basil Pesto, and Corn||458.4||40 Minutes|
If you are a seafood lover, you must have tried stew, and today we brought a seafood stew recipe made with mussels.
The marvelous seafood stew will get many different flavors in just one recipe pot.
The mouthwatering taste of white fish, prawns, and mussels with rich, spicy tomato sauce will give you a flavor that won’t be easy to resist.
Since it is a dairy-free product, you will love the healthy but flavor-packed dish. Don’t forget to serve it with crusty bread to absorb its flavor in one bite.
In just 30 minutes, you will get a delicious and mouthwatering stew.
Calories: 211 Per Serving
Preparation Time: 30 Minutes
Eating the same seafood every day could be monotonous and somehow will make you hate that dish.
However, if you keep trying variations with your food, your taste and mood will be good.
Keeping this in mind, we chose to share seafood empanadas recipes with you that come with the filling of parsley, paprika, cultivated mussels, white wine, onions, etc.
They work best when served with tomato salsa. Of course, one can make changes according to taste and preference, but if you want authentic and delicious seafood, go with the recipe’s steps.
Although the dish will take a little longer, it is worth all the effort.
Calories: 199 Per Serving
Preparation Time: 2 Hour 45 Minutes
If you are a fan of Italian cuisine, then there is no way that you are not familiar with pasta. However, the next time you prepare pasta, you might want to try it with a seafood flavor.
Here is the pasta recipe with mussels and a sweet corn dish to shorten your search for a perfect recipe.
You will have to follow two steps, one to make a pesto you like, or else you may purchase it from the market.
The second step will be to prepare the pasta and clams. Finally, with the topping of pesto, you will be in love with the flavorful dish.
It will hardly take 40 minutes to prepare this recipe.
Calories: 458.4 Per Serving
Preparation Time: 40 Minutes
This article has gone through all there is to know about mussels.
We have learned what they are, the best ways to prepare and cook them and how to incorporate the seafood dish into your everyday meals.
What drives people away from mussels is its link to seafood however mussels do not taste like fish (even if the similar clam does).
Mussels are a great thing to eat and, if prepared well, is delicious. You will come out wanting more of that beautiful salty yet sweet mussel and will make you look at seafood in a different light.
So, if you are wanting to experiment with different cuisines and want to give seafood a try, mussels are the best place to start.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Chew Or Swallow Mussels?
It’s a general question in everybody’s mind about whether to chew or swallow mussels. The answer is both.
You can hold the narrow portion of it and tilt the shell for the mussels to slide down into your mouth.
Before swallowing, you should chew it a few times and should eat everything once without having leftovers to eat later.
Do People Eat Raw Mussels?
The risk of food-borne illness is higher when eating raw mussels; therefore, it is not recommended.
Although if you want to try it, you may find restaurants that serve raw mussels for a long time.
Are Mussels Very Fishy?
Despite what many people believe, mussels do not taste fishy.
Although if it ever happens, then the reason behind it could be that they are not cooked or prepared correctly.
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