Mussels

Also known as:

Pacific blue mussel, Northern bay mussel, Edible mussel, Foolish mussel, common mussels, black mussels, New Zealand or Asian green mussels, Zebra mussels, Quagga mussels, and pile mussels.

Description:

Waters:Mussels can be found along the Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean coasts. They are also frequently farmed.

Depending on the species, shells can be anywhere from 1 1/2 to 6 inches in length. Shell colors range from an indigo blue (the most common) to bright green to a yellowish-brown. All mussels' shells are thin and oblong in shape.

Mussels are best bought in their shells so they should appear much as they do in water. The meat of the mussel is cream, tan, or pale orange.

Best Cooking:

Mussels are excellent steamed, baked, and fried. As with almost all shellfish, overcooking tends to make mussels chewy and tough. They are also popular as additions to pasta dishes, seafood soups like bouillabaisse and Spanish dishes like paella.

Buying Tips:

Buy them live and fresh. Buy mussels with tightly closed shells or those that snap shut when tapped this is how you know that they're still alive. Those with broken and heavy shells should be avoided as should those that feel too light seem loose when shaken. Finally, as with many fish, smaller mussels tend to be more tender than their larger siblings.
The general guideline commonly used when buying mussels is to allow one pound (450 g) of mussels in the shell per person for a main dish and one-half pound (225 g) per person for a side dish or appetizer.

Nutrition Value:

Mussels (cooked, moist heat), 3 oz. (84.9g)
Calories: 146
Protein: 20g
Carbohydrate: 6.3g
Total Fat: 3.8g
Fiber: 0.0g
Excellent source* of: Selenium (76mcg), and Vitamin B12 (20mcg)
Good source* of: Zinc (2.3mg), and Folate (64mcg)

*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.

Mussels are not a source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Notes:

Mussel seasons are different from coast to coast. On the East Coast, fresh mussels are available year round. On the West Coast, fresh mussels are only available from November through April. Mussels harvested at other times on the West Coast may be contaminated by microscopic organisms.

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