What Do Mussels Taste Like: Yummy or Yucky?
Mussels are considered one of the most common seafood in many American recipes.
They are super healthy yet yummy at the same time. If you haven’t tried them before, you may wonder, “What do mussels taste like?”
So, let’s find out the answer in this post!
What Are Mussels?
Mussels are one of the most common seafood in many recipes in American kitchens. So, what does a mussel look like? They come from the bivalve mollusk family, with an oval-shaped cover shell in dark color. Mussels can live in marine and freshwater places.
Mussels are filter feeders, meaning they find plankton and pull them out of the water. Unlike wild mussels, farmed mussels are raised in a controlled environment with no toxins and waste. Nevertheless, no matter where they come from, you still need to clean them properly before cooking to avoid chemical consumption.
Blue mussels have a smaller size than the black type of mussels with a delicious taste. They are mostly sold in the winter and spring months, while Mediterranean mussels (also known as black mussels) are caught often in the fall and summer. Their shells are also wider than blue mussels.
Green-lip mussels come from the coast of New Zealand. They have a bigger shell with a small green spot at the top “lip.”
Freshwater mussels are known for their tasty meat and flavor. They are also a great source of nutrition like protein, fatty acids, vitamin C, and minerals and low in fats.
Difference Between Clam And Mussel
So, what is the difference between mussels and clams?
It is easy to understand as mussels and clams are both in the mollusk class. However, when put clam vs mussel, the difference between mussels and clams is clear to see. Mussels are saltwater and freshwater habitats, while clams can only live in the freshwater.
From the outside look, freshwater mussels have a longer oval shape shell which is less curvy than shells of clams. Both clam shell’s top and bottom are equal instead of bigger top half like mussels. They also have different colors. Mussels are mostly black or dark blue, while clams tend to have grey or clay beige-colored cover.
What Do Mussels Taste Like?
Mussels are tasty seafood that is known in many recipes, like mussel linguine. They can be cooked in different ways like roasting mussels, steamed mussels, and stuffed mussels.
So, what does mussels taste like?
There can be many descriptions of this interesting species. Some people find the taste of mussels like the chicken of the sea with lean white meat. Others think they have a fishy undertone similar to catfish.
For me, they have a distinctive ocean aroma with a similar rubbery texture to clams. The flavor is like mushroom, mildly sweet, which is not the same as shrimp. Because of the delicate taste of mussels, I find it is so easy to mix mussels with different ingredients in a wide range of mussel dishes.
As there are many types of mussels, they also have slight differences in flavor and texture. The popular mussels you are likely to have in a seafood restaurant are blue mussels. They are considered to have the best taste out of all types, but they come smaller.
Fresh blue mussels should have tightly closed shells. When you crack the shell open, the mussel meat inside can be white to orange with a certain plumpness with soft feels. So, why are some mussels orange?
The color of the meat does not show the quality of the freshwater mussels. White is a common color of mussels. However, female mussels can change to orange when they are ripe, still safe to eat.
When you cook them, their shells will pop open for you to enjoy the tasty mussel meat. The texture of mussels becomes chewy yet soft to the mouth. As soon as you take your first bite, the juice will pour out in your mouth with a rich, sweet, and intense ocean taste.
Because of the amazing mussel taste, you can find a blue mussel in the expensive range. You can pair them well with pasta, rice, garlic clove, lemon juice, crusty bread or French bread, white wine, and garlic sauce dip.
Other mussels like black mussels and green-lipped mussels have a slightly different size and taste. So, how do they taste?
Black Mussels Vs Green Mussels
When comparing green mussels vs black mussels, I find that they all have a larger size than blue mussels.
Green mussels lay in the nutrient-rich water of New Zealand’s coast, which influences its flavor greatly. The green mussels have a fresh and strong natural ocean flavor with an umami undertone with a less fishy and oily texture.
While black mussels have a relatively larger size, it has a mild ocean with salty taste with a fishy aroma. The green mussels also have a meatier texture than black mussels, making it a must-have experience when you visit New Zealand.
Mussels Cooking Tips
As I have mentioned above, mussels are filter feeders, so they are likely to mix with chemicals, toxins, and waste products. Therefore, to be able to eat them, you need to know some freshwater mussels cooking tips below.
When buying freshwater mussels, you should always look for those that are still fresh and alive. Raw mussels should have a sea and salty aroma. If they have an off smell, it is best not to choose them.
You can also look at their shells to test their livability. Normally, freshwater mussel shells are closed tightly. If some are open, you can tap at the shells of mussels to check if they are still alive. If the mussel closes itself, then you can enjoy bringing it home. If it remains the same, then it is likely that the mussel is not fresh anymore.
When you have all the freshwater mussels you need, you can ask for a bag of ice to keep them at their best quality when you travel home. Make sure they are not drowned in water as fresh mussels need air to breathe.
When you’re working on your frozen mussels, you can take a brush and scrub its shell to remove any dirt. If you found something like a strand of hair attached to the quality mussels, it is their beard. You should remove it along with the dirt and debris.
You can remove the mussel beards by grabbing and dragging them to the end of the mussels. It will be easily popped out with a firm grab. You can also use scissors to cut the mussel beard.
Once you have finished preparing the mussels, it’s time to cook them!
When cooking the mussels, you can use salty water to steam them. You can also pour white wine to make a flavorful broth and elevate the mussels’ taste. While cooking the mussels, you can stir them gently to check those that haven’t popped yet.
Mussels Vs Oysters Taste: Which One Is Better?
Mussels and oysters can look a bit similar, but their taste is no match to each other. So, what do oysters taste like?
Oysters taste like strong briny meat with a firm and slimy texture, while mussels have a mild flavor and chewy consistency. So, if you look for a good ocean flavor, oysters are the best for you. But if you’re looking for a great fresh seafood combination in many recipes, you go with mussels.
Mussels Vs Clams Taste: Are They The Same?
As I mentioned above, mussels and raw clams have certain differences in their outlook. When tasting them, they can have a similar texture which is chewy and soft. But their flavor can be different.
So, what does clam taste like? Or what do clams taste like? When putting clam vs mussel, clams have a saltier and more fishy taste than mussels.
In many seafood recipes, you can often find mussels as a main ingredient or side dish as they have an interesting flavor that you can combine with many foods.
Now that you know the answer to “what do mussels taste like?” It is time to go to the market and experience yourself with some good mussels!