Mussels are considered one of the most nutritious delicacies. These seafood actively use the cuisines of many countries of the world, even if they are not typical for a particular area. Before proceeding with the preparation of culinary masterpieces, it is important to know how to clean the mussels correctly, otherwise you can spoil the taste and aroma of the dish.
Frozen and freshly prepared clams are processed differently. Each method has its own nuances and features. Proper pre-processing will not only allow you to prepare a nutritious and satisfying meal, but also guarantees the benefits of meat, which is unusual in chemical composition.
How to clean frozen mussels? Consider this later in the article.
What are the mussels?
These are bivalve mollusks that live in sea and river water bodies. Inside the shells there is a liquid substance, which during heat treatment turns into a tasty, dense piece of meat that has a white, yellow or orange color. In food, you can use the internal contents located under the wings. But it’s important to know how to cut and clean the mussels, as they can leave sand, dirt and algae on them that can become a source of infections.
Mussels contain almost three times more protein than other mollusks. They are also rich in phosphorus compounds, fatty polyunsaturated acids, contain many vitamins and minerals. Regular consumption of mussels in food reduces the risk of developing arthritis and cancer. The meat of these mollusks has a positive effect on the functioning of the brain and liver, on vision and contributes to the overall strengthening of immunity.
How to pick mussels
Before mussels to clean and cook, they must be sorted out. For this, mollusks with open or damaged shells will have to be thrown away. Also, too heavy specimens are not suitable, since they probably have a lot of sand inside.
Small clams are usually soaked in cool water. Large seafood that is grown on marine farms does not need to be soaked.
The most common in stores are frozen mussels. They should not show signs of repeated freezing and thawing (cracks in ice floes and hoarfrost).
This is best done gradually. So the process will be more natural and less affect the consistency and taste of meat. To defrost, seafood is initially laid out in the refrigerator from the freezer, and after a few hours they get out and continue to defrost at room temperature.
To speed up the process, mussels can be placed in a bag, and then put in a bowl of cold water, pressurized from above so that the seafood is completely immersed in water.
After defrosting the product, it must be soaked in cold water for several hours. This is necessary in order to separate the dirt from the shells, which can spoil the dish. When the mussels are soaked, they should be carefully removed from the water so as not to disturb the sand that has settled on the bottom of the container.
The next stage of cleaning is washing each sink under running water, removing the threads by which the mussels cling to the rocks and the seabed. You also need to remove the antennae. They are best removed with pliers, pulling to the base of the sink. After that, it is necessary to clean each mussel well with a brush.
The classic cooking option is to immerse the seafood in hot water and boil for 10-15 minutes, until the shells are completely open. You can add a small amount of white wine to the broth, so the meat will be more fragrant and tender. Take out a slotted spoon. Only those sinks that are fully open are brought to the table, the rest are thrown away.
After the clams are cooked, the meat can be easily and easily separated from them.
How to Peel Fresh Mussels
Fresh products on store shelves come mainly from coastal cities, so you have to use quick-frozen seafood. Nevertheless, how to clean chilled mussels is worth knowing.
First of all, open shells are immediately removed. If they are not fully open, you can put pressure on them. If they slam shut, it means that the mollusk is still alive, and treatment should be continued.
Fresh sinks need to be soaked to remove sand, remove the antennae, threads and brush.
How to extract meat
In stores, you can buy peeled mussel meat in boiled and frozen form. It can be used immediately in any dish.
But seafood in the sink will look more aesthetically pleasing on the dining table. And here it is important to know how to get a tender piece of meat out of it. For this, cutlery is used: a fork for mussels, tongs. With their help, you can easily get the meat from the shells. The shell adheres with forceps, and a meat piece is taken out with a fork, which does not need to be cleaned, since all contents are suitable for food.
Eating seafood is not forbidden by hand.
Selection of quality clams
Mussels are bivalve mollusks that live in salty and fresh waters. In cooking, they are recognized as a real delicacy. To get a tasty dish, they need to be properly cleaned.
To prepare a tasty and healthy dish, mussels must be fresh and of high quality. Tips for choosing a good product:
- On a frozen product, there should be no cracks in the glaze of ice, nor frost. In the presence of such defects, it is likely that seafood has already thawed, and during the next freezing, their useful properties are lost.
- Peeled frozen clams should always be a light shade.
Mussels belong to strong antioxidants and are a natural aphrodisiac. They strengthen the immune system, contain polyunsaturated fatty acids that affect visual acuity and brain activity, vitamins, trace elements, a lot of zinc, a large number of amino acids that are necessary for the human body. For example, tryptophan, which promotes the production of the hormone of joy.
The protein of these mollusks superior to meat and fish proteins in methionine content (not synthesized in the body, can only be obtained from food) tryptophan, keratin. Also, the use of mussels in food has a beneficial effect on the health of nails, hair and skin.
Mussels are great for overweight people, as have a low calorie content (100 kcal per 1 kg of product). They high in protein and low in fat, and therefore, they do not have bad cholesterol. Also they rich in phosphatidesthat positively affect liver function. Keratin reduces appetite, promotes the production of melanin, and also improves the functioning of the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, and pituitary gland.
Seafood Cleaning Rules
In the process of preparing seafood, you need to know how to clean mussels frozen without a shell, in order to avoid unpleasant taste sensations or even poisoning. It is imperative to thaw them. To do this, remove the clams from the bag, put in a deep container and refrigerate. After the ice has completely melted, they need to be put in a colander, rinsed thoroughly under high pressure of cold water to get rid of sand.
Often purchased these seafood in shells. This raises the question of how to clean the mussels. It is easy to do. First you need to defrost the product by putting it in cold water, wash it thoroughly with a brush. Then the shells should be boiled for 15 minutes, cool and remove the meat from the opened wings. Throw out unopened shells.
In order to save money and time, it is better to buy already peeled mussels. In shells, spoiled mollusks come across, unsuitable for consumption.
After the mussels are washed, they should be completely dried by shaking in a colander, or laid out on paper towels. It is very important to know that opened shells or with damage to the shell cannot be eaten.
Fried clams with onions and garlic
This appetizer can be served with a side dish or as a separate dish. Ingredients:
- 800 g mussels
- 2 onions,
- 70 g butter,
- a few cloves of garlic
- black pepper and salt to taste.
Preheat the stewpan, put the butter, then lay out the seafood. Then add chopped onion and mix thoroughly. When this mixture is fried, it needs to be pepper, salt and put the grated garlic. All this needs to be mixed well, then removed from the heat, cover and leave for 3 minutes.
- 0.7 liters of white wine,
- Provence herbs (optional)
- 400 g of clams.
- half a liter of low-fat cream,
- 1 tbsp. l Dijon mustard
- a pair of leek arrows
- 200 g blue cheese with mold,
- white pepper.
Pour wine into a saucepan, put on a slow fire. Let it boil for about a minute. Next add Provencal herbs and mussels. Simmer for 5-7 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally, then recline in a colander.
To prepare the sauce, you need to warm the cream in a small bowl, adding mustard and finely chopped onions to them. Cut the cheese into small cubes and send to the sauce. Then season with white pepper and cook until thick sour cream.
- a pound of peeled mussels,
- 200 ml low-fat cream,
- 2 tomatoes
- 100 ml of olive oil,
- spices, salt, pepper, garlic and herbs to taste.
Put the seafood in a multicooker bowl, pour olive oil and fry for 10 minutes in the “Baking” mode. Then add chopped tomatoes, whipped cream, spices, salt and herbs. Cook on the same program for another ten minutes. When the excess water evaporates, and the mollusks acquire a creamy tomato flavor, add finely grated garlic and immediately place them on plates. Serve with garnish only.
To prepare, you will need:
- a pound of shellfish,
- 3 onion heads,
- 50 ml of soy sauce
- 1 lime juice
- spices: red and black pepper, coriander, nutmeg,
- 1 tbsp. l honey.
Boil the prepared mussels for five minutes, lay them in a colander. Next, chop the onion in half rings, salt and drizzle with lime juice and leave for pickling. Then add the nutmeg in the soy sauce at the tip of the knife, and other spices to taste. Mix lime juice with honey and heat well. Then combine onions, clams and honey sauce. Sprinkle with red pepper, mix and send to the refrigerator. It is cold.
It is prepared very quickly and easily.
- 100 g butter,
- 3 cloves of garlic,
- a pound of mussels,
- 200 g of cheese.
Heat butter in a pan, put chopped garlic in it and fry a little. Then remove the garlic with a slotted spoon. Put seafood in oil, pepper, salt and fry over high heat for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Add grated cheese, mix and bring to readiness within a minute.
Pilaf with mussels
- 700 g of seafood,
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- a glass of rice
- 40 g butter,
- 1 pc. carrots and onions,
- pepper, salt, bay leaf.
Shellfish should be boiled in salted water (do not drain the water after cooking). Fry chopped carrots and finely chopped onions in oil. Then add rice there and fry it with vegetables. When the onion is fried until golden brown, add two glasses of water, tomato paste, and spices to the container where the seafood was cooked. Cook over medium heat. When the rice is almost ready, add the mussels.
To prepare the soup you will need:
- 600 g mussels
- 150 g fillet of haddock and sea bass, crab meat, sweet pepper,
- 0.5 l of white wine and meat broth,
- 2 bow heads,
- black pepper peas,
- 5 tbsp. l oils (preferably olive),
- Bay leaf,
Boil mussels for four minutes in a small amount of salted water and discard in a colander. Cut the fish into pieces, and onion into cubes, it must be stewed in oil. Next, cut the sweet pepper into strips, send to the onion and simmer for a couple of minutes. Then pour the broth, put the parsley and pepper with peas, cook for five minutes.
After this, boil the wine, put the fish in it and boil for three minutes. Then put the meat of crabs and mussels, heat and season. Pour the soup into plates, garnishing it with thyme and clams in the sinks.
Of the many recipes for seafood, everyone will find something for themselves. In order to enjoy a wonderful mussel dish, you need to learn how to clean and cook them. This will allow you to bring novelty to your diet and feel all the useful properties of mollusks.
In what form is seafood safe for health?
In stores, mussels are sold in the following types:
- frozen raw without shells (usually sold with a single leaf)
- frozen boiled without shells,
- frozen in sinks
- fresh in the sinks.
The safest of all of them is fresh mussels, which are carefully selected, cleaned and subjected to heat treatment at home. Shellfish in reservoirs per day pass through themselves up to 80 liters of water. These are kind of “filters”, which, together with nutrients, absorb poisonous ones.
The mussel contains in minimal quantities saxitoxin, a substance with neuroparalytic effect. If the reservoir was heavily polluted, then its concentration increases, and such mussels cannot be eaten. Therefore, it will be useful to ask where the mollusks were brought from and how safe the ecological situation is in this place. The place of production must be indicated on the label.
Canned mussels do not pose a health hazard (unless the can is swollen and the shelf life has not expired). But they must be kept in brine, so at the output the product turns out to be salted, and the taste of additives and seasonings interrupts the natural taste of seafood. When buying shellfish frozen without shells, you need to be prepared for the fact that among them can be a spoiled mussel. When thawing, it begins to spread the smell of rot. As a result, you have to throw out the entire package.
Frozen mussels in shells are a more acceptable option, as each mollusk is protected by a dense shell. Stale mussels can be selected immediately, while the quality of the remaining mollusks will not suffer. But it is necessary to select the spoiled seafood very carefully: without regret throw out frozen mussels, in which the leaves are half open and those that did not open after heat treatment.
How to process fresh clams?
After the purchase, you need to inspect the mussels. Shellfish with chips and cracks in the wings, with open shells are unsuitable for food. If the dish will be cooked in a few hours, then the clams are put in the dishes, covered with a damp cloth and put in the refrigerator. 1-2 hours before cooking, they are pulled out and cleaned.
Algae particles and dirt are removed from the mollusks and placed in cold water for 30 minutes. Mussels “wake up” in the water and begin to filter out sand from the shells, which settle on the bottom of the pan. After half an hour, the mollusks are carefully removed from the water with a slotted spoon so as not to shake the sand. Each mussel is thoroughly cleaned with a brush. Antennas and threads stick out from the cusps - with them mollusks are attached to rocks, stones and “scout” the territory. The Gossamer is captured with fingers and pulled to the base of the shells. Then comes the turn of the antennae. If they are not amenable to use pliers.
The peeled mussels are washed again under a stream of clean water and dipped in boiling water. 10-15 minutes are enough for the clams to fully cook. In hot water, the sashes will open, and the mussels will turn into dense white lumps suitable for consumption. It is important not to digest the product, otherwise the meat will be "rubber". The pan is removed from the stove, the prepared mussels are carefully removed from the sinks and served to the table, as an independent dish, or with a vegetable side dish.
Frozen Seafood Processing
Frozen mussels in or without sinks are sold in packages that are not first opened, but left in the refrigerator until they defrost. When the mollusks melt, they are placed in cold water, which completely covers the bag, and is pressed with a load. To do this, you can use a glass jar of water. In this form, the mollusks thaw much faster.
Thawed mussels free of packaging. If they are without both flaps or with one, then they should be washed immediately from the sand under a stream of running water. Mussels in shells are placed in cold water for half an hour. When soaking, the sand will settle to the bottom of the dishes. Then the mollusks are pulled out with a slotted spoon, cleaned of dirt and algae, tendrils and threads are removed.
Raw thawed mussels without shells and cooked the same way: dipped in boiling water, stirred for 10 minutes, removed with a slotted spoon. If already cooked mussels without sinks were bought in the store, then after defrosting they are washed with running water and immediately immersed in boiling water.
1-2 minutes are enough to “refresh” the product - you cannot cook them longer, otherwise they will lose their delicate taste.
To make delicious clams, which are sold fresh and frozen in the store, the subtleties of their selection and cutting should be taken into account.
- На качественном замороженном продукте нет кристаллов льда и инея. If they are present in large quantities - mussels were repeatedly frozen.
- The surface of the valves should not be damaged, the shells are inspected for chips and cracks.
- Ready meat has a white, yellow or orange color and a uniform structure. If it is a gray, “shrunken” lump - the mussel is spoiled. Its unsuitability for food is also reported by an unpleasant odor.
- For cooking, it is better to choose large clams - they are more juicy and tasty. On the packages there is information: the manufacturer leaves information about the number of mussels per 1 kg. It looks something like this: 33/1 or 55/1.
- The less liquid is poured into the meat during cooking, the tastier it is. If the mussels are cooked in a pan, it is enough to pour 1 cup of white wine or water there, so that after 7-10 minutes the clams are ready. The liquid only covers the lower flaps, so the meat is cooked under the influence of steam.
- Ready mussels are served with light vegetable side dishes or as an independent dish. Calorie cream sauces should be avoided. Shellfish in themselves are “heavy” food, even though they have a low nutritional value.
- From 1 kg of frozen seafood, the output is 100 g of pure meat.
The mussels peeled from the leaves do not need a long heat treatment, therefore, they can be prepared in various ways:
- in a slow cooker and microwave,
- in the oven with vegetables,
- pickle in vegetable oil with the addition of vinegar and seasonings,
- on an open fire on the grill,
- fry in a pan.
Mussels are successfully combined with Provencal herbs, black and red pepper, cheese and vegetables. To get rid of the fishy smell, mussels can be sprinkled with lemon juice. From mollusk meat tasty and fragrant soups, stews are obtained. It is used as an additive to salads and savory foods.
This is a product that incorporates the taste of other ingredients and at the same time does not lose its own.
See how to clean mussels in the next video.