Food lexicon


Quick to prepare for a taste of the seaside

Mussels deliver the holiday feeling straight to your kitchen – they taste of the sea, are easy to prepare and an elegant addition to most dishes.

Mussels – A Delicacy From The Sea

The hard shell protects a small delicacy. The shell of a fresh mussel is usually closed, but opens upon cooking, revealing the tasty mussel meat. With only 85 calories per 100 grams, mussels are a low-calorie meal that you can enjoy as much as you like. They are also very rich in protein and therefore quite filling. Their high vitamin and mineral content also make mussels a vital part of a well-balanced diet.


Mussels (raw)




85 kcal per 100 g


3.4g carbohydrate, 2.7g fat, 11.7g protein per 100 g


available year-round


consume on day of purchase


consume on day of purchase

Mussels – Origin and Characteristics

People have been eating mussels for more than 8,000 years. They can be found on almost all coasts worldwide, but the largest populations are at home on the European Atlantic coastline. Mussels preferably live in colonies on stones, corals or piles. The two halves of a mussel are almost identical and are dark blue to black in colour. They can be up to 10 centimetres in length and mostly live off a plankton diet, which they absorb through two incurrent siphons in their shell.

Perhaps you are familiar with the rule that you shouldn’t eat mussels in months that don’t end with an “r”. This rule made sense a few decades ago, but nowadays mussels can be consumed at any time of the year. The logic behind the rule was that mussels spoil faster during the warm summer months and absorb more poisonous algae particles. With modern freezing technologies this rule has become redundant and fresh mussels can be found even in landlocked countries like Switzerland. As well as this, mussels are also bred in strictly controlled aquacultures, which prevents poisoning.

Dead mussels spoil quickly, which is why the molluscs are transported and sold while still alive. When buying mussels from the fish counter, you should ensure that the mussels are in fact fresh. When mussels are out of water they close their shells, which requires muscle strength. Therefore, open mussels are likely dead and spoiled. However, an open shell does not automatically mean the mussel is dead. Lightly knock the shell against the kitchen counter – if the mussel closes its shell, it’s safe to be eaten.

Mussels – Preparation

It doesn’t take much to make mussels taste delicious and you should always aim to retain the authentic taste of the sea. Drizzling a little lemon juice on the delicate tasting mollusc and seasoning with some salt is often enough. For a Mediterranean spin, try mussels with tomatoes or spaghetti. Simply boil, steam, fry or roast the mussels before serving.

The most common way to cook mussels is in a white wine sauce or a broth. Wash them thoroughly before cooking to remove any sand and then debeard them by pulling off the stringy membranes. Cook the mussels in a pot at a medium heat for 8 minutes. While cooking, mussels open their shells but any that remain closed should be thrown away, as it is likely they were already dead and spoiled before cooking.


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