To preserve the flavours and ensure they are flawless, mussels are served with the shells still on. Mussels can be prepared at home just as quickly, so you don’t necessarily need to eat at a Michelin-starred establishment to enjoy the finest of what they have to offer.
But just like with any home-cooked meal, you’ll need to find a way to keep it. Whether you use a fridge or a freezer, it would help if you found a means to care for your mussels before and after you cook them.
Can you put them in the refrigerator or freezer, though? For how long? And the best way to go about it? Let’s now address each of these inquiries. Follow along for more below!
What are Mussels?
The Mytilidae family of bivalve mollusks includes mussels. The hinged, oval-shaped, dark blue-black shells of mussels are. Even though most mussels consumed today are farmed, you may readily locate them in the wild in intertidal zones along exposed coasts of cold water. They cling to dock pilings and rocky outcrops in the water by strong byssal threads. New Zealand and Asia both have green mussels. Although they resemble the traditional navy variety in appearance, freshwater mussels are a distinct species and are typically not consumed.
How Long do Mussels Last in the Fridge?
Cooked mussels can be stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days before freezing. Raw mussels can be frozen for up to 6 months if wrapped tightly in aluminum foil and stored in a freezer-safe dish or bag. Fresh mussels should be eaten within three to four days of purchase.
Raw mussels can be stored in the fridge for 2 to 5 days.
They still have plenty of time to maintain their highest quality, and the chilly temperatures will help keep mould and germs from growing on them.
Many mussel connoisseurs advise that you try to consume your mussels within two days, as after that time, they aren’t exactly at their best and start to taste a little bit worse.
Similar, at most four days, is the shelf life of cooked mussels.
This is because any latent bacteria have been destroyed by cooking and are prevented from reaching them by the refrigerator’s frigid temperatures.
It would help if you tried to consume them within that 4-day window since, after that time, they will start to rot, which could ruin an otherwise enjoyable culinary experience by changing the flavour and texture.
If you buy cooked mussels in a bag, you should put them in the fridge for at least a few days before you cook them. Do not buy mussels in a can; they are not as good as those that have just been caught. To keep them as fresh as possible, wash and shave them, but be sure to get rid of any extra water.
Mussels don’t last very long, but they are usually safe to eat for at least a few days. But if you want to eat mussels after cooking them, you should put them in the fridge for a few days. It would help to keep the mussels in the refrigerator with a lid on them, so they don’t go wrong and taste bad. You can also put the mussels in the freezer and use them later.
Remove any air from the bag of mussels before putting them in the fridge. So they will stay fresh longer. If you’re not going to eat the mussels immediately, write the date on the bag. So, you’ll know when to eat them or put them back in the freezer. Mussels can be kept in the freezer for up to three months.
Mussels that have been vacuum-packed can last up to two weeks in the fridge. But you need to freeze them if you want to keep them for a long time. Fresh mussels that have been vacuum-packed usually stay good for two to three weeks. You can also put them in the freezer for up to 3 weeks. But ensure to heat them when you take them out of the freezer, which will help them stay as fresh as possible. Then, you can cook them in a microwave or cold water for three to four days.
Checking for the Freshness of Raw Mussels
If you’re unsure if your raw mussels are still alive, you should put them in the fridge. If the shells are shut, that means they are still active.
When you go to buy mussels, pay attention to how they smell. A dead mussel with a strong smell of fish should be thrown away. The smell should be like the smell of oysters and clams that have just been cleaned. Flows will be drawn to a mussel with a bad smell. It’s essential to ensure that the mussels you buy at the store are fresh. Fresh mussels don’t smell too much like fish and should smell slightly salty.
How to Prepare and Cook Mussels?
Most mussels at the seafood counter will have dark blue, black, or sometimes green shells. They may also have little stringy “beards” that stick out of their bodies. You can pull these off or cut them off with kitchen shears.
In the past, you had to rinse mussels to get rid of sand, and they had to soak in water with a bit of cornmeal, which was a bit of a pain. Now, most mussels for sale are either farmed or have already been cleaned, so you don’t usually have to worry about them being gritty.
Get rid of any mussels with open, cracked, or different colour shells. Fresh mussels should smell like the sea, which is salty and a little sweet. If they don’t smell good, throw them away. If you find one with a slightly open shell, gently tap it with your finger. If it doesn’t close right away, put it in the pile of things to throw away.
Mussels are so easy to cook that you could just put them in a dry pan and cook them over medium-high heat with the lid on until their shells open and their fragrant juices come out. Then you can stir some butter and black pepper and serve them with crusty bread to dip in the delicious liquid.
But you can cook them in a dry pan, but adding a little white wine is nice to help them steam and give the liquid more flavour. But remember that you aren’t simmering them—you are steaming them, and you only want a small amount of liquid in the pan.
Can Mussels that have been Thawed be Refrozen?
Yes, whether they are cooked or uncooked, mussels can be safely refrozen. However, make sure your mussels have had time to thaw in a refrigerator.
Your mussels should not be put back in if they have defrosted at room temperature since they are highly susceptible to bacteria.
Remember that refreezing can slightly change the flavour and texture of any food product since freezing modifies the molecules that make up food.
These molecules will move a little bit more each time you thaw and refreeze a product, demonstrating why you should try to refreeze something only once, if at all possible.
It is preferable to cook mussels first before freezing them if you want to refreeze them for a second time when they are still raw.
The mussels are given a fresh lease on life by cooking them, which makes it simpler to put them back into the freezer.
What do Mussels Taste Like?
Fresh mussels that have been cooked taste a little bit like the ocean, with a sweet saltiness and a texture almost like a mushroom. They shouldn’t have a fishy or too salty flavour. When mussels are cooked too long, they become rubbery and hard to chew and swallow.
How to Determine if Cooked Mussels are Bad?
The best method is to look at and smell the mussels; bad mussels have a sour smell and a slimy texture; you should throw away any mussels that smell funny or look funny and not taste them beforehand.
What Takes Place if You Consume a Bad Mussel?
The worst that can happen if you eat a poor mussel is that you’ll throw up, feel nauseous, or have diarrhoea. Usually, they appear 24 hours after intake.
You won’t have any long-term effects, but if your symptoms do appear out of the ordinary, make sure to see a doctor.
Where to Buy Mussels?
Fresh mussels can be bought at the seafood counter of well-stocked grocery stores or places that only sell seafood. Look for farmed mussels because they are the most reliable and don’t have the grit that is often in wild mussels. Whether you serve them as an appetizer or a main course, each person gets about 3/4 to 1 pound. When you go shopping, it’s a good idea to buy more than you need because you may find some that are dead or cracked and have to throw them away. After cooking, you’ll always find some that didn’t open and can’t be served.
Mussels that are still alive should stay that way. You can’t eat dead ones, and they can make you sick. The best way to store mussels is in the refrigerator, in the mesh or net bag they came in, wrapped in a wet paper towel or damp newspaper. Keeping them cold and wet is the key.
Mussels can be kept on ice (but only in the fridge, not the freezer), as long as the melted ice can drain away and the mussels don’t end up underwater. You can put them in a bowl with a metal colander inside.