How to prepare mussels
- To begin, sort through all of the mussels and discard any that are open. Mussels that are open are spoiled and should not be consumed. To make sure they don’t open, put them in a net making sure they are all close together.
- What keeps mussels alive is the sea water they have inside them.
- If the mussels come from an aquafarm (where they are attached to ropes that are suspended in the water from a fixed floating structure), you don’t need to keep them in water. But if they are “wild” you will need to put them in water for about an hour so that they can release the sand they may have inside them.
- If the mussels are very dirty on the outside you have to clean them well before cooking. Clean them in a bowl full of water by rubbing the shell with a wire sponge, one mussel at a time, until clean. Even though the shell is not consumed it has to be clean or else all of the dirt will be released in to your food while cooking.
- Next, you must carefully remove the beard.
- Grab each mussel securely with one hand and pull the beard with the other. If you try to remove the beard by pulling it towards the hinged edge, it will break off and the rest will stay inside the mussel. This is why you must always pull it in the opposite direction of the hinged edge, to make sure it is all removed. A small piece of the flesh of the mussel may get pulled out along with the beard but don’t let this worry you.
- As soon as you remove the beard the mussel begins to die. This is why they must be cooked within 2 hours after debearding.
- Transfer the clean and debearded mussels to a clean bowl and they are ready for cooking.