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I'm surrounded by acres and arces of mussels.  I like mussels and I know lots of ways to prepare store-bought mussels, but harvesting?  Not a clue - other than I've read about the technique (and to not damage neighboring mussels).

How does one choose the best mussels to harvest from the hundreds in a cluster?

for me, it's the same as with oysters, it's all about size.  get some leather gloves, pennycutter scissors, and a prying implement.  The scissors and pry tool will help you select the size you are looking for.  Bigger mussel, bigger gut in them.

You mean I don't have to sniff them?  Someone's in trouble now...

Thank you, al.  May I ask why I'd need penny cutter scissors?  I have no prejudices against them, I've simply never heard they were needed before now.

I use a small prybar what I bought at the dollar store for a dollar.

Avoid the super large ones, they will be tough. My rule of thumb is I take the ones that are as long as my thumb, but no longer than my traffic finger.

Give them a good rinse and a scrub with a stiff bristle brush to knock off the loose bits (again, dollar store wire brush works well) and the fibrous "beard" that holds them together you can grab and twist off with a longnose pliers (again, dollar store tool aisle is appropriate for this).

Do NOT do this in your kitchen sink. The beard fibers will absolutely destroy a disposal machine, and will also wreak havoc on a roto-rooter's blade set. Best to get two buckets - one with rinse water, and one over which you do the scrubbing and beard removal. Dispose in the yard as grey water. Dollar store dish pans work great for this, too !

Perfectly cromulent equipment for this comes from the dollar store, and if the tools rust (and they will) you don't really care.

The correct preparation is to open a jar of marinara and simmer the mussels in sauce until they open, served with lots of garlic bread.

Also, please don't just wrench a bunch off the rocks and discard the smalls. Those are the juveniles and need to be left where they are to grow for the future.

Thank you, Mr. striper, and bonus points for the first use of "cromulent" on NWKA.

This is all good to know, especially about size since a lot of the mussels around here are longer than that finger.  And I would never think of disturbing the small mussels.  The mere thought!

I long ago gave up hope of ever being allowed to clean any kind of game or fish indoors, but I wouldn't have expected the "beards" could be that much trouble.  You probably saved someone a sincere headache.

I appreciate this, and the chance to expand my vocabulary.


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