Why It's Important To Rinse Mussels

Shellfish is not new to the human diet, but these days it is becoming more and more of a high-end specialty food. Mussels, crab, and oysters are all special morsels harvested from the sea and can be served raw, steamed, or roasted. But fresh seafood is becoming increasingly harder to find at an affordable price as food costs around the world continue to climb (via The Destin Log).

Britannica says that mussels inhabit both fresh and saltwater habitats but are most populous in cold, oceanic environments. They can range in size anywhere between 2-6 inches in length and their shells conceal an absolutely drool-worthy piece of meat that pairs exceptionally well with creamy garlic and coconut curry. Though prices fluctuate, the average cost of mussels per pound is between $5 and $8 in 2022. So, if you're looking for quality seafood that won't break the bank, mussels might just be the best way to go. But before you buy yourself a bag and throw those shells in a pot, you absolutely must clean them.

Keep it clean

Keeping a clean kitchen is hygienic and keeps you from nasty little incidents like food poisoning and cross-contamination. But just as important as it is to keep your workspace clean, it is equally as important to clean your ingredients as well. You must scrub your potatoes, soak your herbs, and wash your raw chicken before using, and before you cook your mussels you must rinse and debeard them. According to Cuisine at Home, mussels are traditionally cooked alive with their shells tightly closed (indicating freshness) and as they heat up, their shells will crack open to reveal the delicate morsel within. Because the seafood is cooked in its shell, the outside needs to be cleaned so that when the shell opens all the outer gunk doesn't get inside.

Epicurious says that sand will fall away from the shells pretty easily with thorough rinsing and scrubbing. But there is an aspect of mussels that you may have a much more difficult time removing and that is the beard. Don't worry! These mollusks are not growing a full chin of hair — a "beard" refers to the fibers which attach the shell of the mussel to a stable surface in the ocean. You can easily remove these clinging hairs by cutting them away with a sharp knife or by pinching them off. Rinsing and debearding will ensure that no sand or other debris ends up floating in your dish.