Wed 01 May

Everything You Need to Know About Mussels

We're making May the month of the mussel! Tune into our social media pages throughout the month to learn more about one of Australia's most popular bivalves.

To kick us off, here's a comprehensive overview of this delicious species.


Blue Mussels are the only commercial species of Mussel sold in notable quantities in Australia. This marine-dwelling bivalve mollusc is found in intertidal waters to depths of around 20m, often in dense clumps, attached by coarse rope-like ‘beards’ to exposed reefs, rocks and jetty pylons, and was traditionally hand-harvested by divers off southern NSW, Victoria, SA and southern WA.

Aquaculture commenced in NSW in 1976, and has now developed to the point that all Blue Mussels sold commercially are farmed. They are grown in southern NSW (around Eden), Victoria, Tasmania, SA and southern WA in clean, sheltered water 5-20m deep. The tiny immature Mussels (spat) are collected on ropes (mainly from the wild, although some are produced in hatcheries in Tasmania), raised in long ‘socks’ (to protect them from predators) suspended from horizontal ropes attached to buoys to keep them immersed (known as subtidal suspended culture) and harvested at 12-18 months.

Our friends at Yumbah Aquaculture have , if you're keen to know more!

Their dark (brown, grey, blue, purple or black), wedge-shaped shell with a bluish-white interior makes them easy to distinguish from other bivalve molluscs (such as Pipis and Cockles). 


Mussels are sold live, often in convenient vacuum-sealed packages (like the ones from Yumbah Aquaculture).

When you're shopping, look for brightly coloured, firm, intact, lustrous shells that are closed or close when tapped or gently squeezed, and a pleasant fresh sea smell.


Live shellfish should be consumed as soon as possible after purchase. Place in a container, cover with a damp cloth and keep in the warmest part of the refrigerator, usually the crisper (optimum 5ºC), ensuring that covering remains damp.

Before cooking, discard any shells that are open and don’t close when tapped or gently squeezed (you may need to give them 10-20 minutes out of the fridge to warm up first). Freeze meat for up to 3 months below -18ºC.


Tiny crabs are sometimes found inside mussels: they are harmless and do not indicate any problem with the mussel.

If you're serving your mussels in the shell, remove their beards (byssal threads) before cooking by holding the shell firmly closed and sharply tugging beards away from the pointy end of the shell; if Mussels are being removed from shells, we suggest cooking them with beards attached, as they are easy to pull off the cooked Mussels once they’re removed from the shells.

Lightly scrub shells with a plastic scourer (or against one another, like 91制片厂Seafood School shows you in ) to remove any sediment or barnacles.


The average yield of mussels is 30%, and all of the flesh is edible. Females tend to be more orange in colour, whereas males are paler.

All mussels have a rich, strong flavour, high oiliness and moist, juicy, medium-textured flesh. Remove them from the heat as soon as they open, as they quickly shrivel and become chewy if over-cooked.

While traditional wisdom was to discard shells that don’t open when cooked, you can pry them open, away from the plate, and, if they smell good, eat them; if they’re bad, they’ll have a distinctly ‘off’ aroma.

Here are some recipe ideas to try: