Mussel is a wonderful ingredient, with his own particular taste; you should read the Section:

 “Preparation” for the cleaning of this seafood and the Section “Recipes” to see different ways to

cook them; but I want to spend some words here because we must be cautious when buying,  

storing, preparing and eating this ingredient.

First of all I use the Mediterranean type “Mytilus Edulis” externally only black when coming from

 “sea-farms” with red spots of madrepora when taken by the divers in the depth of open sea.

I love eat raw Mussels with drops of lemon, even though is since 1987 I didn’t do it, you know why?

In summer of ’87 one of my friend, a diver from the beautiful town of Bari, gave to me some kilos of fresh mussels he personally fished. Never I eat raw mussels if I am not sure 100% of their provenience, mussels can kill you if they are not properly grown, fished, stored and cooked, this because mussels can easy get bacteria grown. The risk of being poisoned drop to “zero” with the new fish-farms where the mussels are pre-treated before to be sold, killing all bacteria and germs in the fish-farms using sophisticated technologies, still I do not eat raw mussels so my risk drop under -zero…. I love to eat raw seafood, today, Dec, 11th 2011,  I had my 12 raw oysters in Galveston-TX; clams and other seafood are very welcome for me but mussels got so bad reputation in Italy in the ’70s which still stuck in my mind. But you must not fear Mussels when they are properly treated, like they do in the fish-farms. What is to be done to preserve this sublime seafood?

First of all you must buy only fresh mussels, if you find died mussels (they are open) or broken mussels you must discard them to the garbage immediately. Mussels can be stored for days in the fishery cold counter, by taking them to your home the environmental conditions change, the raising of temperature during the transportation and the storage are the first cause of damage to the mussels: if temperature raises the microbic charge raises with an exponential increase. So you transport your fresh mussels to home as soon as possible, take the mussels out from the plastic bag and put in a big wet (of clean fresh water or clean sea water) big kitchen rag or dishcloth, it must be clean, often I use a clean bath-towel soaked with clean fresh water. Then store the package inside your fridge at 2/4 degrees Celsius, or 35/39 degrees Fahrenheit, do not keep there for more than 24 hours, cook them before.

Please note that mussels sunken in fresh water die. Often just washing in fresh water cause the mussel to die. Taking off the mussel “Beard” cause the mussel to die. Let the mussels for 5/10 minutes under sun cause they die. Mussels are really delicate and sensitive.

Pay always attention to the Mussels smell: if in one kilo you notice that one or two, may be three or four have bad smell discard them, you can keep the others if they are tighten closed and not broken.

There are different qualities of mussels worldwide, the big and green from the Pacific Ocean are different from those in the Mediterranean sea, my friend from India told me that there is a small skin to be taken off from the Indian mussels before to be cooked, but I never see this type of mussels alive. As soon as I got news I will update this post.

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