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What are mussels ?
Mussels are a type of seafood. Mussel is the common name given for members of several families of bivalve mollusks, from salt water and fresh water habitats. These groups have in common a shell whose outline is elongated and asymmetrical compared with other edible clams, which are often more or less rounded or oval .
When are they in season ?
Mussels are generally plankton filters.The ones we get here in the U.S, are the cultured ones.They are mostly available in winter during the holidays. and around Valentine Day.
Are mussels expensive ?
Mussels are not expensive. They are around 4 dollars a pound, sufficient for a good meal for two adults . if one decides to use them as an appetizer in smaller serving, then a pound is sufficient for four adults.
How do you know which ones to buy ?
Mussels are generally sold in mesh bags and live. Usually a lot of ice is piled around them. The mesh bags allow them to breathe. The fresher the better.
When you buy them, make sure they are not sitting in liquid. They should not be stinky or slimy when you bring them home.
Mussel meat is available frozen too, and is precooked.
How to store mussels ?
It is best to cook them, the day you bring them home.
If you need to cook them the following day, then place them in a colander in the fridge.Drain any liquid before placing them in the refrigerator. Cover them with a wet paper towel and lots of ice, until you cook them, the next day.
How to cook them ?
Remove the mussels from the ice and gently run cold water on them. The live ones will tend to close their shell when tapped, proving they are good to cook. Discard the others since they are dead are not good for cooking.
Next use a kitchen vegetable scrub brush to gently clean the shells off the debris.In the cultured mussels we get here, you will see a beard attached the mussel. The beard is nothing but what the mussel latched on to while being harvested.
It is good to de-beard the mussel before cooking it. this can be done manually by gently tugging the beard or by using a pairing knife in those that are stubborn.
Use a large vessel with lid for cooking mussels , since they open up when cooked . Fill it with 3/4 of water letting the mussels soak in them, and then start to cook.Cooked mussels occupy more space that the ones that had their shell covered.When they are open and gently cooked, use them in your dishes immediately to flavor with spices.
If you are wanting to learn more about the Indian spices that go well with seafood and how to use them in your delicious cooking, you can find all about it in my E-book, “A Complete Beginner’s guide to Indian Spices” by clicking here or on the picture below.
Do not overcook mussels.Over cooking mussels makes them rubbery.
Winter is the best time for seafood. Go on try out some recipes with mussel meat, they are filled protein and are super delicious !
Sharing below , my previously published and top listed sought out recipes using mussel meat, for your interest :