Mussel season

Each food has its season.

Mussels have the appropriate size and flesh in the months as the French say that have no 'R' ie May, June, July and August, they reach 4-5cm long and have solid flesh and pure color.

MonthLength (cm)Meat (%)
1.) January 2 -
2.) February 3 -
3.)March 4 -
4.) April 4 -
5.) May 5 28
6.) June 6 22
7.) July 6 24
8.) August 7 23
9.) September 1 -
10.) October 1,5 -
11.) November 1,5 -
12.) December 2 -

 

Conservation & storage

Mussels should have closed shell, where internally there is clear sea water and the meat should be attached onto the shell.

 

  • First of all, observe the shells and pick the ones that are closed or are closing rapidly and tightly once touched, giving sign of life
  • It is understood that the broken or cracked shells are dodged and collect the intact ones
  • It will also be helpful to gently tap the shell on a hard surface like marble, in order to hear the sound coming out, who should be "full" and not "hollow"
  • after opening the mussel, the flesh should be attached to the shell and wet
  • Another way to separate the living from the dead mussels is the immersion in a basin with tap water those floating are of questionable vitality while those that sink are definitely alive

  

 

Live mussels, after thoroughly cleaned and with the byssus (hair on the sides of mussels) removed should be stored in the refrigerator in ventilated containers and covered with a damp cloth or a damp paper towel. This way can be stored for 4-5 days in refrigeration.

 

 

 

For further storage (3-4 months) mussels should be steamed, without the shell and freeze them in airtight containers suitable for freezing by covering them with their juice (the juices from steaming that must have been filtered before using).

     

Where to find mussels

Mussel cultures are found in estuaries in the sea where there is brackish water.

Mussel spat (small mussels) have zooplankton size and move in the water column following the water stream according the currents. When developing byssus then adheres to a stable surface where they spend and the rest of their lives.

If you want to catch mussels by yourself first find out about the quality of sea water in the area. Mussels are usually found in rocks, ropes or buoys (Caution: never collect mussels from metal surfaces or under or around boats.) If you buy them at your local fish shop make sure to ask for the paper from the depuration center consolidation showing the collection date and then you can safely enjoy a delicious meal at home.

Mussels are sold in bags or bulk to ice on the counter with seafood. In order to to choose the best, trust your nose that identifies the freshness of the ocean, the salty and iodine of the sea.

Finally you can enjoy fresh mussels in many restaurants as a delicious appetizer or main dish.

Mussel description

The shell is triangular with a round end. Main body consists of the mantle with the gonads which surrounds the vitals of the main body.

 

The mussels are filter-feeders and holds selective microorganisms in the range 1-7 microns while the largest rejects as excrement. The filtering is done by the currents through its incurrent siphon.

 

Openning a mussel first we observe

  • the mantle that surrounds the vitals and includes the gonads
  • underneath there are the gills which help the gas exchange between the mussel and the seawater
  • in the core is the byssus which holds and stabilizes the mussel with strings on hard surfaces
  • finally the foot which helps the mussel explore its habitat
  • The mussel opens and closes the valves with the internal back and front muscle of which the one in the back is stronger
  • finally the digestive system consists of the stomach the intestine which is folded and runs the length of the mussel twice.

 

Picture of the internal organs of the mussel

  1. Gills
  2. Mantle
  3. Byssus
  4. Foot
  5. Internal back muscle
  6. Stomach

 

 

 

 

 

Mussel colors

Mussel colors

The shell is smooth and outside is black to dark blue to brownish while internally whitish to gray and blue and reaches 14 cm in length.

 

The meat of the mussel depends on gender. White and orange for males and pink for females.

Mussel Shell

 

Nutrients

Nutrients

Fish, crustaceans, molluscs and crustaceans after fruit, olive oil, vegetables and cereals are in the base of the Mediterranean diet.

In less consumption are the dairy and poultry products forming the top of the pyramid red meat and pastries.

This is the pyramid forming the medteranean diet. The specific nutritional composition of the Mediterranean diet results in both low in saturated fat and cholesterol and also high in carbohydrates and fiber.

Mussels, oysters, octopus, shrimp, lobster and fish are common food in Mediterranean diet, cooked in different ways and are nutritious and delicious choice for the whole family.

Animal organisms is rich in vitamins, such as A, vitamin B complex (eg B1, B2, B3, niacin), C and D, which are essential for the proper functioning and development of the nervous system and the basic metabolic procedures. 

Mussels are important source of antioxidants, vitamins and noble proteins with low content of fat and lipids .

Also, it is recognized the digestive and stimulant properties, mainly because of the quantity of alkaline salts they contain.

 

See the detailed nutritional table of mussels and learn the benefits of eating mussels for your body and health:

         STEAMED MUSSELS / 100gr
CALORIES 160kcal
PROTEINS 19,8gr
CARBOHYDRATES 6,2gr
FAT 4,1gr 
OMEGA 3 FAT 0.6gr
CHOLESTEROL 40mg
SODIUM 310mg
IRON 3,42mg
CALCIUM 26mg
POTTASIUM 310mg
MAGNESIUM 37mg
PHOSPHORUS 192mg
ZINC 1,5mg

 

Sanitary controls

Sanitary Controls

To meet the health requirements it is established a system of controls to protect public health. Weekly samples are taken of the veterinary service of each region and the results are posted in the agricultural development ministry both water quality and meat of mussels. This controls both microbiological and marine biotoxins as to the presence of toxic phytoplakton.

 

The tests are for traceability:

  • Toxic phytoplakton
  • DSP
  • ASP
  • PSP
  • E.Coli
  • Salmonella spp.
  • Chemical compounds (Pb, Cd,Hg)

 

 

Marine Biotoxin limits in flesh:

  • a) for the paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), 800 μg/kg
  • b)for the amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP), 20 μg of domoic acid/Kg
  • c) for the okadoic acid, the dinophysis toxinsand the pectenotoxins together 160 μg equivalents okadoic acid/Kg
  • d) for the gesotoxins, 1 mg equivalents gesotoxins /Kg
  • e) for the azaspiracids, 160 μg equivalentsazaspiracids /Kg.