1. As most mussels are farm-raised, they are likely to be fairly clean when purchased. Still, it it important to examine each mussel carefully before cooking to be sure that it is fresh, clean, and de-bearded. 00:06
2. When shopping for mussels, determine their freshness by smelling them. Fresh, live mussels should not have a fishy odor, though they may have a slightly salty smell. Look for mussels that are tightly closed. If a mussel is open, tap it on a hard surface. If the mussel does not close, it is dead and should be discarded. 00:25
3. To clean mussels, set out three bowls. Fill the first and the third with ice and the middle with cold water. Place the mussels into the first bowl. Take the scrubbing sponge and scrub the outside of each mussel to remove any remaining algae. Dip the mussel and sponge into the water several times to rinse away any grime. Once the mussel has been thoroughly scrubbed, place it into the third bowl. 00:58
4. To de-beard a mussel, pinch the beard between your thumb and index finger and pull it away from the body of the mussel in a gentle but firm motion. The beard should detach easily. 01:21
5. Make sure to keep the mussels on ice after they are cleaned until it is time to cook them. This will help them stay alive and fresh. 01:54
What You'll Need
- Bowls (3)
- Scrubbing sponge
- Mussels, fresh
- Cold water
Mussels are considered bivalve mollusks, similar to clams. They can be found growing in either freshwater or saltwater, though most mussels available for purchase are farm-raised.
If mussels are farm-raised, there is a good chance that they are from the Prince Edward Islands or other parts of Canada. The cool waters in Northern America are the ideal conditions for growing mussels.
To learn a simple but flavorful preparation for mussels, visit Chef Giuseppe Tentori's "How to Prepare Mussels" tutorial located at the bottom of the page.