October's Dish of the Month: How to Cook the Perfect Mussels

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

As the summer makes way for cooler Autumn nights there is no better dish to warm you from the inside than a hearty bowl of steamed mussels. Although our Live Cornish rope-grown mussels are available all year round, their peak season runs from October to March so now is the best time to enjoy them.

We know that preparing and cooking mussels can feel intimidating but the reality is that they are so quick and easy to make. Perfect to enjoy on a busy weekday evening: once you give them a go, you'll quickly realise that cooked mussels can easily become a regular treat!

Their plump orange meats provide a distinct creamy flavour and when cooked correctly they have a soft but tender chewiness to them. There are many ways to prepare mussels as they are one of the most versatile shellfish with their mild taste pleasantly taking on the flavours of the ingredients you cook with them. Read on to discover how to prepare and cook your mussels and discover our favourite 3 ways to cook with mussels that are guaranteed crowd-pleasers.

Why our mussels are so moreish

Sourced from the clean and nutrient-rich waters of St. Austell Bay on the Cornish coast, our fresh mussels are grown in the highest-grade ocean waters which is essential to developing the very best quality shellfish.

These rope-grown mussels don't require much preparation as they don't have 'beards'. Simply give the shells a quick scrub to remove any barnacles or algae, then give them a quick rinse in clean water and they're ready to go. This video by Rick Stein shows him cooking the very same rope-grown mussels that you can buy from us - so you'll be preparing like a pro in no time.

The healthy choice

Did you know you can fend off seasonal germs with seafood? Shellfish such as mussels and clams are great sources of omega-3 fats and make a healthy, low-calorie option for getting in those key immune-strengthening vitamins and minerals like zinc and selenium. These help us fend off seasonal bugs and germs so prevalent during the winter months winter. We don't store zinc, so we need to consume enough to support our immunity, particularly when colds and flu are prevalent.

How to store mussels before eating

Mussels are best eaten on the same day we deliver them to you, but they can be stored for a couple of days in the fridge. Place your mussels in a colander and set it over a large bowl. Cover them with a clean, damp cloth and put them in your fridge.

The optimum storage temperature is 4-8°C as temperatures of 1°C or lower (especially freezing temperatures less than 0°C) can kill your shellfish. Also, as live mussels need to breathe, never cover the bowl with plastic or put them in an airtight plastic box.

3 delicious ways to cook mussels...

1. Mussels with Pak Choi and Chilli

A quick and easy seafood treat with green leaves and spicy Korean warmth that will see you transported to warmer climes in under 15 minutes. Courtesy of Nigel Slater for The Guardian. See recipe >

2. Classic Moules Marinière with Cream, Garlic and Parsley

Impress loved ones with this a restaurant-style dish in six simple steps. Add a splash of white wine, cider or beer for an extra special kick and serve with crusty white bread. Courtesy of Rick Stein for BBC Food. See recipe >

Cheat's tip: if you want an even quicker way to rustle up this classic dish, don't miss our new Pott's sauce for Moules Marinière!

3. Mussels ‘Rockerfeller’ Style

Combining fresh mussels with punchy flavours including, pastis, sherry, fresh herbs and Tabasco sauce, this hearty dish is great belly warmer for those cooler months. Served with some toasted baguette or sourdough to make the most of that delicious sauce. Courtesy of Simon Hopkinson's for BBC Food. See video recipe >

How to store your mussels after cooking

If you have leftover cooked mussels, you can store them safely to eat later - either in the fridge or freezer.

In the fridge: store in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 2 days. But do not reheat them, instead top them with a little finely minced onion, fresh tomato and a squeeze of lime juice or a little sherry vinegar and serve them cold on the half shell. They are delicious this way!

To freeze: follow these 5 simple steps...

1. Reserve any cooking broth and let it cool

2. Cool the mussels and remove the shells

3. Add the mussels to a plastic container / freezer bag and pour over the cooled cooking broth

4. Seal your container / bag and freeze

5. Defrost thoroughly and add your cooked mussels to stews, seafood pasta dishes etc.

Are you a big shellfish fan? Don’t leave before you have checked out our online recipe book for lots more inspiration on how to cook delicious shellfish dinners at home.

If you like mussels, you may also like eating clams, cockles, squid prawns and scallops...all available to buy now in our online shellfish shop.

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