We Ate Mussels! (Wow – thanks to AutoSave you get to enjoy the original story! In an effort to keep three things going on this computer plus looking up the word (voila) it all very quickly disappeared. Was it wa l l a, wo l l a, or should I just forget it? Not me, I tried looking it up and the rest is now history so, enjoy the story.
Little did we know of the adventures to be enjoyed by young and all alike; for the mere price of a five pound bag of freshly harvested mussels (Costco $2.99 #). An adventure, a bbq, and a great evening well spent by all.
Forget the salmon and crab dressing main course that remained in the icebox. Bread, cheese, mussels dominated the meal! Blindly without so much as a mere hint as to how to decipher the code of the mussels, we began by just digging in, ripping them apart, with our intent on mussels on the half-shell? Straight from the black mesh bag with no other tool but butter knives!! Not once did we resort to “wait, I’ve got a smart phone, or two, or three within mere feet of me.
Not a great idea for the sacrificed first few but it did work – at least for some. The second, three, and even fourth batch went straight into the bbq for a steam bath on a baking pan. In no time flat the tiny little guys popped before our eyes, nicely revealing their tiny bits of morsel within, ever so basking to perfection. And so were we, in the nearly 98 degree San Bernardino heat. A little beer, a little wine, a loaf or two of fresh baked sourdough bread by our Julia Child of the daughter-laws. There is possibly nothing that she cannot pull out of that kitchen. Fresh homemade mayonnaise. Now I know how to make it and it is so much more delicious than store bought. What you are not seeing in the pictures is the labor of love and also the ones baked to perfection, topped off with homemade mayonnaise, sprinkled with lemon, chili powder and maybe an ingredient or two that I missed on the way to the bbq.
Mussels are a type of clam, usually long and wedge shaped, which grow in the ocean, along the shoreline. Mussels may be harvested from the wild, but are often grown in farms for commercial use.
The two most commonly eaten mussel types are blue mussels and green-lipped mussels. Please note: Freshwater mussels are usually not eaten, but produce fresh water pearls.
Mussels can be baked, fried, smoked, broiled or steamed and are often served in chowders. Mussels are a popular fast food menu item in many European and Pacific countries.
The Health Benefits of Mussels: Mussels are a high protein food source. Their low fat content makes them potentially healthier than other protein sources, such as beef, which can contain a lot of saturated fat. Mussels are also low in calories, with raw mussels containing only 70 calories per 3 oz. (85g), including 1.9g of fat (0.4g of which is saturated fat). A comparable amount of lean sirloin beef contains 160 calories and 2.1g of saturated fat. The beef does contain twice the protein of the mussels.Mussels are also an excellent source of vitamin B12 and selenium, which is an essential micro-nutrient.
Vitamin B12 is important in the functioning of metabolism processes and a deficiency can cause fatigue and depression, as well as other symptoms. One hundred grams of mussels provides around 13% of your daily vitamin C needs and 22% of your daily iron needs. Mussels are also good sources of other B vitamins (particularly folate), phosphorus, manganese and zinc. Mussels are a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids and are considered an excellent seafood choice.
Cautions About Mussels
Mussels are prone to the same types of bacterial contamination as other seafood and should only be prepared if they are live, as dead mussels quickly deteriorate. Mussels which are dead will be slightly open and will not close when disturbed.Mussels may also collect poisonous algae, which builds up in their tissues and can be extremely dangerous. Eating mussels with this condition can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning. Unfortunately, the toxins that cause this cannot be eliminated by cooking at high temperatures, and the only prevention is to avoid shellfish that have been exposed, such as those which appear on the West coast of the United States during summer. Government agencies generally monitor the amounts of algae present in commercial shellfish.Mussels are a healthy and nutritious addition to most meals and can provide real benefits to health and well being. They are low in fat and high in nutrients like omega-3 and iron, and are also delicious and versatile. Careful preparation and monitoring health warnings about fishing areas will ensure that both commercial and self-harvested mussels will be safe to eat and enjoy.
A Few Tips
In place of water, you can also use wine or beer or other liquids to steam the mussels and add some unique flavour. Throw in some chopped garlic or onions to add more flavour.It’s best if the pot heats up very quickly so use maximum heat. This allows the mussel meat to release better so it’s easily removed from the shell.A general guide for how many mussels to cook is a pound per person.Be careful not to overcook mussels and definitely do not boil them covered in water like a potato or pasta as they will not open. Mussels need to steam not boil.The broth left in the pot after steaming is delicious. Serve it with the mussels and use bread to dip.PEI Mussels are a perfect choice for any occasion from a family meal, to an informal gathering, to a party. They’re always a tasty and easy way to serve up great food.