This mollusk, whose tough, sweet meat is full of protein, comes in many varieties. The most common is the purple black type
called the blue mussel.
How to Choose Mussels
Mussels should be purchased alive. Look for tightly closed shells or shells that snap shut when tapped. Avoid mussels with broken shells or those that feel heavy, which means they are filled with mud. Another good sign: The juice from shucked mussels should be clear.
How to Store Mussels
Store fresh mussels (live or shucked) in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
How to Prepare Mussels
The hardest part of preparing mussels is cleaning them: Run them under cold water gently, and discard any with shells that are broken or that remain open after you tap them lightly (a live mussel should respond to this by snapping shut). As you clean, pull off the beard (the weedy growth attached to the bottom of each shell).
How to Use Mussels
Mussels can be steamed, fried, or baked. Do not eat any mussels that remain closed after cooking.
Real Simple Mussel Recipes:
- Mussels With Fennel and Wine
- Linguine With Marinara and Mussels
- Mussels With Pesto and Garlic Oven Fries
- Mussels With Tomatoes and Olives
- Mussels With Oven Fries
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Find out what's in season in your area right now, then locate a farmers' market near you.