Mussels should only be eaten when there is an 'R' in the month (even though these days you can buy them all the year round) so September is the start of the new mussel season. There is nothing quite like a bowl of freshly cooked mussels and they are easy to prepare and cook yet a lot of people are afraid to do their own because of tales of food poisoning they have heard.
Follow a few simple rules and you can enjoy the freshest of mussels at home and they are still great value . . . which means bigger portions!
These are a few very simple rules for you to follow which were provided by Chef Jim Fisher of CookInFrance cooking holidays.
- Choose your mussels with care, buying them only from reputable supermarkets and fishmongers.
- Raw mussels are always sold live: they should be shiny, mostly unbroken and closed, and generally smell of nothing other than the sea.
- Get them home straight away and cover them with plenty of cold fresh water (mussels don't like tap water, so they shut up and wait for the real tide to come in!).
- Scrub them well and remove any barnacles and the tough fibrous 'beard'. Throw away any with broken shells.
- Raw mussels that refuse to close when rapped on the side of the sink are dead: throw them away.
- Mussels that remain closed having just been through the cooking process were dead before you bought them and should also be chucked out.