A primer on handling Mussels
When purchasing mussels make sure the shells are closed. Some open shells will close when gently tapped. If shells do not close discard those mussels. Mussels should have a slight, fresh seafood odour. Remember, mussels are alive when purchased and should be handled carefully. Ensure that mussels always have access to an adequate supply of oxygen.
Mussels are alive when purchased and should be alive when cooked. When storing mussels, ensure that there are holes in the containers or bags to allow oxygen to flow through to the mussels. Keep mussels in a refrigerator or cool environment until ready to use. Mussels may keep for 2-3 days prior to cooking. Cooked mussels, in strained liquor and put in a covered container, may last for approximately 2 days. Frozen, cooked mussels may last up to 4 months if properly sealed. (Do not freeze live mussels).
Prior to cooking, wash mussels in cold running water, to remove any byssal threads and other material. Some scrubbing may be needed to clean mussels totally. Avoid soaking mussels when cleaning, as mussels do not survive in fresh water.
A properly cooked mussel will be completely detached from one side of the shell. The natural mussel juices will add to the flavour of the mussels and the liquor. There are two different colours of mussel meat. The more orange colour mussel meat are the females and the whiter meats are the males. There is no discernible difference in the taste and size between males and females.