Blue mussel, bay mussel
Blue mussels have a distinctive rich, sweet taste, like a blend of oysters and clams. Mussels should look and smell fresh and have tightly closed shells. Mussel meats, which range from white to orange, are plump and tender, but less soft than clams. Color doesn’t indicate quality. Females tend to be orange when ripe (they’re fine to eat and, unlike oysters, don’t taste oily when about to spawn).If a mussel’s shell gapes, try to pinch it shut. If the mussel is alive, it will respond by shutting its shell tightly. If it doesn’t, discard the mussel, along with any that have broken shells.
Live Fresh: Meats Frozen: Whole-shell (steamed), Halfshell (steamed), Meats (steamed), Blocks (meats) Value-added: Marinated meats, Smoked meats, Pickled meats, Frozen (breaded or battered meats), Canned meats (stews)
Greenshell mussels, Hardshell clams, Softshell clams
Mussels have beards, or byssus threads, which they use to anchor themselves to a growing medium. The beard should be removed just prior to cooking. Mussels are best steamed in water, wine or cream broth seasoned with herbs and garlic. Try cold, lightly marinated mussel meats served in a sauce of mayonnaise, mustard and garlic, or use cooked mussel meats in pasta salads or as an appetizer. Mussels are also great in seafood soups or stews, like cioppino or bouillabaisse.
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