Bivalves are an intricate part of a marine ecosystem and a superb food source for seafood lovers across the country. The most commonly consumed bivalves include oysters, clams, scallops, and mussels. Mussels are prepared in a variety of ways but are most frequently steamed. Here are 4 things you need to know about steamed mussels, whether preparing at home or dining at a restaurant. 

Where Do Mussels Grow

Unfortunately, mussels are not harvested off the coast of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. They, therefore, are shipped in to be enjoyed fresh when purchased from a grocery store or at a restaurant. 

When it comes to growing and harvesting mussels, they are common along the northern portions of the east coast and west coast of the United States and Canada. Check out the range of the blue mussel along the east coast

The mussel proliferates rapidly and is ready to harvest within two years. Farms utilize varying harvesting methods, including dredging the bottom while the boat moves in a forward motion, pulling the mussels free from the bottom and into the dredge.

In addition to dredging, mussels farms scrape polls or ropes, which the bivalve becomes and attached grow to a mature size within two years. 

No matter the method, they are delivered fresh to restaurants and grocery stores across the country daily. 

How Do You Clean Mussels Before Steaming

Cleaning mussels before steaming is a straightforward process that requires minimal supplies. 

To clean mussels before steaming, follow the steps below. 

Step 1. Gather Supplies

Before removing mussels from the refrigerator, do not clean the mussels until you are prepared to begin steaming the bivalves.

Gather a colander, soft bristle kitchen brush, and mixing bowl to place the mussels after being cleaned. 

Step 2. Run Cold Water

Place the colander in the sink and turn the water faucet on a cold setting while placing the mussels into the strainer.

Thoroughly rinse the mussels to remove sand and other loose debris.

Step 3. Brush The Mussels

Hold the brush in one hand the mussel in the other hand and scrub the shells of each mussel, mainly when they are bearded. Bearded means the shell contains growth. After brushing, rinse and pull away any remaining weeds.

After each mussel has been cleaned, transfer to a mixing bowl. 

Step 4. Prepare The Pan For Steaming

Once the mussels are cleaned, have the pan for steaming heated to prevent the mussels from becoming warm. 

How Long Does Mussels Take To Cook

The length of time to steam mussels varies based on the steaming method, including the pot, the liquid, and the temperature.

One of the most popular cooking methods is preparing a tomato-based sauce called Fra Diavolo. A Fra Diavolo is a spicy marinara mixture that pairs well with mussels. We recommend following the Food And Wine Fra Diavolo recipe

Place the mussels directly in the sauce or liquid or on a steaming rack beneath a lid. Ensure the sauce or liquid is rumbling before dropping the fresh mussels into the pan.

Once the mussels are in the pot or pan, cover and steam for a minimum of five minutes. However, mussels open when fully cooked. Once the mussels are open, transfer from the pan to a serving dish. 

However, pay close attention. A mussel that fails to open must be discarded as it has died before cooking. Eating closed mussels puts the person at risk of severe illness. 

Are Steamed Mussels Good For You

Seafood is one of the most healthy options in regards to its low levels of fat and high levels of protein.

One of the drawbacks to consuming seafood is the levels of mercury. Prolonged ingestion of mercury leads to long-term health consequences. 

However, mussels contain low levels of mercury because they are harvested rapidly compared to large fish swimming in the ocean. Large fish accumulate mercury over time by ingesting baitfish containing mercury. Fish including tuna, swordfish, marlin, tilefish, and more are considered high in mercury compared to mussels. 

When it comes to health benefits, mussels contain zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, and protein. To keep the meal healthy, avoid adding excessive butter or other fatty sauces, eliminating the benefits of eating mussels. 

 Use These 4 Things To Know The Next Time You Eat Mussels

One of the most delicious and affordable bivalves is mussels. Mussels are best enjoyed when steamed. We have had the opportunity to eat mussels prepared in various ways and can attest to the flavor and tenderness. When cooking the steamed seafood dish at home, consider these 4 things to know to better enjoy.