Fishbox Guide | All You Need to Know About Mussels

Friday, February 3, 2017 : 10:45 AM

If you’ve caught a bag of our rope-grown mussels in your Fishbox this week, here’s what you need to know to enjoy our favourite Shetland shellfish.

We recommend consuming your mussels within 2 days of delivery



Due to the delicate nature of the shells, it is common that some might arrive cracked or broken. If there are more than 10 damaged in your kilo, please let us know as we’d ‘hake’ to leave you washed up!

Even though some mussels might appear to be badly damaged, it’s always worth cooking them as they could still open. If they do open, this means they’re still safe to eat (and just as tasty) as their better looking chums! However, if they do not open (this goes for all mussels), do not eat them.


Store in your fridge covered in a damp cloth.

If stored on ice, ensure any melted water can easily drain as the mussels will drown and die if they are left in melted water.

Mussels require air when they are out of water. Allow them to breathe, and be sure that whatever they are stored in has a small opening for air.

Your mussels will arrive in a plastic aerated bag which will allow them to breathe plus ensuring any liquid is caught.



Mussels require a wee bit of effort before you can cook them but they taste so good that they are worth it!

The first step to the mussel prep is to clean your mussels under cold water by gently scrubbing them and removing their ‘beards’ – a seaweed like string that protrudes from the shell, which is used by the mussel to grip onto the rope. To remove, pull firmly away from the mussel. 

Not all mussels will contain a beard.

Mussels will naturally ‘gape’ when out of water, this means they naturally open and close their shells while in storage. If a mussel remains “gaping”, run cold fresh water over the mussel while tapping with a spoon or on a chopping board – in most cases the mussel will close up tightly.

If there are any that are ‘gaping’ open or do not close, you might want to discard them.

Barnacles and white worm grow on the outside of mussels’ shells. To remove, scrape off with a blunt knife then rinse quickly under cold water.

Rinse your mussels in cold running water.



Your mussels are now ready to cook. 

Place a large lidded pan on a medium / high heat, drop the mussels inside and add some stock or a large glug of wine.  

Replace the lid and cook until the shells open which should take around 4 – 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

To remove the mussels from their shells, we recommend holding a mussel in one hand and scooping out the meat with a shell. Have a finger bowl and napkins on hand to wash your fingers.  

Discard any mussels which haven’t opened.

Don’t forget about our recipes, we’ve got plenty of tasty mussel recipes here.

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