Mussels are easy and affordable to prepare. Here’s a handy guide on how to cook mussels.
Caught by sailors for almost 900 years, mussels are an eco-friendly, sustainable choice, available all year long. Mussels are also really good for you too. They are low in fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, zinc, vitamin C and iron. And an average serving contains only 90 calories.
How to Choose Mussels
Cultivated mussels are thin, with light black-to-brown shells; they have higher meat content than wild mussels. Mussels are sold in mesh bags or can be found loose on the ice at the seafood counter. Cultivated blue mussels are harvested year round – even through the winter – so they’re always fresh when you see them in the store.
An easy way to tell if they are fresh is to use your nose – they should smell like the ocean, fresh and salty. You don’t have to eat them as soon as you get home, depending on the date you usually can buy and store the them in your fridge at home for a few days before eating.
How to Cook Mussels
Before you start cooking, you should always give your mussels a quick rinse. Cultured blue mussels are pre-cleaned so that’s really all you need to do. The fresh water will cause the mussels to close. If there are any that don’t close give them a quick tap, if they still don’t close simply discard them.
- Place a little bit of water in a pot, just ¼ cup is often enough to provide the steam. Note you should never boil mussels as you would pasta.
- Turn on your heat to high.
- Add the mussels to the pot and put on the lid.
- When the steam is coming out from under the lid, peak and if the mussels are open they are done!
- This will take 5 to 10 minutes depending on how much liquid you use, the strength of heat, the weight of the pot and the amount of mussels you have.
- Tip the contents into a bowl and serve with some fresh crusty bread – it’s that simple!
A few Tips
- In place of water, you can also use wine or beer or other liquids to steam the mussels and add some unique flavor. Throw in some chopped garlic or onions to add more flavour.
- A general guide for how many mussels to cook is a pound per person.