Have you ever gone to a restaurant and ordered some mussel dish? Do you like to buy fresh mussels and cook your favorite mussel dish? Either way, it means you truly like this particular mollusk which other deems exotic.
Mussels are soft and chewy when prepared properly and some people find it a tedious job to prepare a mussel dish.
Mussels are the kind of seafood you will never see daily in the market. So those who like this shell food will buy what they think is enough for their craving and store it for weeks.
It is not a bad idea to store mussels because you cook different dishes with it. Also, if packaged properly before placing it in the freezer for storage will help it remain fresh for quite some time.
Can you store mussels in the fridge? Can I freeze them? These could be the questions that will come into your mind if you want to keep mussels readily available or if you are planning on a dish for a special someone for a particular occasion.
Yes, definitely. You can free store mussels and even freeze them for days, but you need to do it properly.
Do you know that you need to freeze live mussels to keep it fresh and safe to it? Well, if you are surprise by this then you have probably never tried freezing some mussels. In that case, we will give you the important tips for handling, storing, and freezing your mussels so it will remain safe to it even after freezing it.
Your Complete Guide to Freezing Mussels
Mussel is the common term used for mollusk. Mussel is actually a bivalve mollusk that thrives in streams, creeks, and other freshwater lakes. There are also kinds of mussels that thrives in saltwater.
Mussels have elongated shape that makes it distinct from other shell food like clams which are rounded. There are also several kinds of mussels typically categorized by which bodies of water it came from. It may have different colored shells, but mussels are all alike and taste alike. Its taste will only somewhat differ depending on how you prepare it.
Here are a few types of mussels you might want to know:
- Blue mussels
- Mediterranean mussels
- Freshwater or pearl mussels
- California mussels
- Zebra mussels
- Charru mussels
- Perna Canaliculus
If you do not care what kind of mussels are you buying as long as they are mussels, then you would not know the difference. However, the common type of mussels we see in the market are the Mediterranean mussels and the Blue mussels.
If you are very distinct as to the type of mussel you truly like, then I believe you will remember its name and appearance.
Working with Mussels
Proper handling of mussels and the method in which you prepare your mussel dish is very important because if not done properly, it can cause poisoning or other health problems.
Do not fret about the handling and storing your mussels as we will provide you the easy steps to do it. As for preparing the mussel dish that you want, we like to add some on your list that you might want to try cooking.
Here are some delicious mussel dishes you could try:
- Red curry mussels
- Mussel soup
- Pasta dish with mussels
- Corn and mussel chowder
- Saka steamed mussel
- Mexican-style mussels
- Broiled mussels
- Mussel rolls
- Mussels with pancetta
- Roasted mussels
- Provencal mussels
These dishes are scrumptious with any kind of mussels in it and really very easy to prepare.
Preparing Mussels for Use
Mussels’ shells should be thoroughly cleaned before cooking them. Be sure to clean it well because the shells could have mud or sand on it, sometimes there are seaweeds or other plants or parasites on it too.
When mussels are cooked their shell opens, then you can get the meat inside. You can add the meat to your favorite dish or cook it into a new dish. You can also opt to refrigerate or freeze cooked mussels. Live mussels can be frozen too.
Follow these easy steps to clean mussels:
- Put mussels in a colander or basin.
- Rinse it thoroughly or run water on it diligently.
- Use brush to remove strongly attached particles like seaweeds. You can also use your bare hands so you can feel the shell. If the shell is somewhat slimy, you still need to clean it well.
- Live mussels have their shells closed. If there are open mussels, tap on it gently and if it closes it is good, if not, you need to discard it.
- Some mussels could have bearding that you need to tug it or cut it off.
If you diligently followed the steps above in cleaning the mussels, you can be sure to have clean mussels which are also safe to eat.
Storing and Freezing Mussels Properly
Freezing mussels to store it for quite some time is easy but should be done properly. The method of storing and freezing cooked or live mussels are the same however, for cooked mussels you need not check for live mussels and you can store it altogether, for live mussels you need to discard the dead ones and store only the live ones.
Freezing Fresh Mussels
If you want to store and freeze fresh mussels, they all have to be live mussels for it to remain safe to eat after freezing. You should not freeze or store dead mussels as it can be poisonous when eaten.
It is also important to freeze mussels as soon as possible after purchasing them. Although others suggest it can be good for up to 2 days before freezing them, you should not take chances.
These are the simple steps to freeze fresh muscles:
- Use resealable airtight freezer bags to pack live mussels.
- In case there are open mussels and it does not close after slightly tapping on it, discard it.
- It is best to vacuum seal it or at least try to pressure out air from the bag.
- Be sure to close the bag firmly and you may double the bag for better protection.
- Label the bag with date to remind you of its storage time.
- When packaged correctly, it can remain best for three months.
Live mussels die when frozen, but it will not be susceptible to microorganism contamination unlike dead mussels. This is why it is important to store and freeze live mussels only.
When you need to cook them, it is best to thaw it slowly while inside the fridge. Never thaw it room temperature because it will be prone to bacterial contamination.
In case you do not want to store live mussels that long, you can refrigerate it for up to 5 days. To do this, you need to soak the mussels in water and cover it paper towels. However, be sure to cook it before the fifth day or package it properly for freezing.
Freezing Cooked Mussels
There are different ways you can cook mussels, and this is not what we want to share with you. We want to give you the important tips about storing and freezing your cooked mussels.
Others suggested that it is best to store cooked mussels than live ones, but you can choose what is best and easier for you. You just need to follow the proper storing and freezing methods.
These are the simple steps to freeze cooked mussels:
- Wrap cooked mussels in plastic food wraps or aluminum foil.
- Put the wrapped mussels in a container with lid or in an airtight freezer bag. Be sure to tightly close the container lid or seal the bag.
- Label the bag or container with dates to remind you of its storage time.
- When packaged properly, cooked mussels are best for six months.
If you do not plan on storing it for weeks, you can refrigerate it for about 4 days. In this case, be sure to cook the mussels before the fourth day or keep it in the freezer.
Never leave frozen mussels to thaw at room temperature as this can cause bacterial contamination. It is best to let it thaw slowly while refrigerated or you can cook it right away.
How long does it take to cook mussels?
The simplest way to cook mussels is by boiling. It will take around 4 to 5 minutes to cook it. When cooked, mussels will open and if not, remove those mussels from the lot.
Is it safe to eat dead mussels?
When mussels are dead before cooking, it will not be safe to eat. Dead mussels are quick to have bacterial contamination which can cause poisoning if ingested.
What Should You Serve with Mussels?
There are different ways of serving mussels and it also depends on the type of mussel dish you have prepared. You can serve them with onions, tomatoes, and braised leeks. It can also go well with crusty bread, roasted potatoes, and rice. You can also prepare dips and other condiments.