Blue Mussel, Green Mussel
Though originally caught wild along the southern coasts of Australia, commercial stocks were damaged by over-exploitation and Mussels sold today are all farmed. The commercial species in Australia is Blue Mussel, while Green Mussels are imported from NZ. Import regulations mean that Green Mussels have been frozen and will be dead, while local mussels are sold live and whole in the shell. They are available year round from aquaculture in NSW, VIC, SA, Southern WA and Tasmania. To farm, immature mussels are suspended on long ropes attached to buoys in clean bays and left to feed and grow. As filter feeders, healthy mussel populations are indicative of clean water supplies.
The why and how of sustainability
Farming methods for Mussels have very little impact on surrounding ecosystems, and can in fact be beneficial to marine environments. That's why they're a GFBF Favourite! AMCS lists local farmed Blue Mussels as a BETTER CHOICE. Blue Mussels produced by Spring Bay Mussels (Tas) and Kinkawooka Mussels (SA) have been certified as sustainable products by Friend Of The Sea. Blue Mussels farmed by Sea Bounty Pty Ltd in Corio Bay, Victoria have been assessed as a sustainable product by the Australian Conservation Foundation's 'Victorian Sustainable Seafood Assessment Project'.
Preparation and cooking
MUSSELS are juicy and have a great ‘sea flavour’. The edible portion is the muscle within the shell and it take very little time to cook. As soon as they open, remove from the heat to prevent the meat from shrivelling and becoming tough and chewy.
Steam or simmer in the shell with wine, stock and aromatics. Mussels can also be Grilled or BBQ’d in the shell, which gives a slightly smoky taste. To smoke, marinate, pickle or crumb and fry, remove mussels from the shell first.
Mussels and their liquor make a great addition to soups, curries, stews or chowders.
The idea that a mussel that doesn’t open should be discarded is myth. Simply prise open the shell to get to the meat – if it has gone bad you will be able to smell it distinctly.
CLAMS, PIPI’s and VONGOLE are all molluscs with meat and cooking techniques similar to mussels. Try as an alternative in a pasta, soup or stew.