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All about “Mussel / Mold”

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Versatile, they lend themselves to preparations inspired by the great cuisines of the world. Add herbs, saffron, curry, garlic, tomato, or coconut milk. Easy to prepare, they can transform a simple dish into a gourmet meal. Farmed mussels are eaten all year round while wild mussels are harvested and consumed during the months of March, April, May, October and November, when the ocean water is cold.

Features of the mold:

  • Rich in omega 3;
  • Rich in vitamin B12;
  • Source of selenium and manganese;
  • Source of phosphorus;
  • Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

What is a mussel?

Mussel identity card

  • Type: Mollusc;
  • Family: Mytilidae;
  • Origin: North Atlantic;
  • Season: March to May and October to November;
  • Orange color ;
  • Flavor: Iodized.

Features of the mold

The mussel is composed of a soft orange-colored body protected by a limestone shell composed of two parts.

Word from the nutritionist

Mussels are low in calories and rich in protein, making them a food of choice when losing weight. One serving corresponds to 150 to 200g of mussels.

Nutritional values

For 100g of cooked mussels:

Nutrients                                                             Quantities                                                            
Protein 17.2g
Fat 1.7g
Carbohydrates 5.2g
Water 74.1 g
Fibers 0 g
Vitamin B1 0.04 mg
Vitamin B2 0.29 mg
Vitamin B12 17.58 µg
Phosphorus 179 mg
Iron 3.1 mg
Selenium 50 µg

13 benefits of mussels: why eat them?

  1. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are two fatty acids from the omega-3 family found in mussels. These act as precursors of chemical messengers promoting the proper functioning of the immune, circulatory and hormonal systems. Several epidemiological and clinical studies have shown that the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids (mainly from fatty fish) could exert favorable effects on cardiovascular health, including the reduction of mortality from cardiovascular disease. These fatty acids are known to reduce blood pressure, blood triglycerides and the formation of blood clots.
  2. Mussels are an excellent source of phosphorus, the second most abundant mineral in the body after calcium. Aside from its essential role in the formation of bones and teeth, phosphorus participates among other things in the growth and regeneration of tissues. It helps to keep the pH of the blood normal. It is also one of the constituents of cell membranes.
  3. Mussels are an excellent source of iron for both men and women. Every cell in the body contains iron, a mineral essential for the formation of red blood cells and the transport of oxygen in the blood. Iron also plays a role in the production of new cells, hormones and neurotransmitters.
  4. Mussels are an excellent source of zinc. Zinc is involved in particular in immune reactions, in the production of genetic material, in the perception of taste, in the healing of wounds and in the development of the fetus. Zinc also interacts with sex and thyroid hormones. In the pancreas, it participates in the synthesis (manufacture), the storage and the release of insulin
  5. The mussel is an excellent source of selenium, a portion of 100 g of mussels covering all the daily needs for this mineral. Selenium works in conjunction with one of the main antioxidant enzymes, preventing the formation of free radicals in the body. It also helps to convert thyroid hormones to their active form.
  6. Mussels are an excellent source of vitamin B1. Also called thiamine, vitamin B1 participates in the production of energy from the carbohydrates we consume. In addition, it contributes to the transmission of nerve impulses.
  7. Mussels are an excellent source of vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin. Like vitamin B1, riboflavin plays a role in the energy metabolism of all cells. In addition, it contributes to tissue growth and repair, hormone production and the formation of red blood cells.
  8. Mussels are an excellent source of vitamin B12. A 100 g serving of mussels fills ten times the daily requirement. Vitamin B12 works together with folic acid to make red blood cells. In addition, it also works to maintain nerve cells and the cells that make bone tissue.
  9. Mussels are a good source of copper. As a constituent of several enzymes, copper is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and collagen (protein used for the structure and repair of tissues) in the body. Several copper-containing enzymes also help the body’s defense against free radicals.
  10. Mussels are a good source of vitamin B3. Also called niacin, this vitamin participates in many metabolic reactions and contributes especially to the production of energy from carbohydrates, fats, proteins and alcohol that we ingest. It also collaborates in the DNA formation process.
  11. Mussels are a good source of folic acid (vitamin B9), which is involved in the production of all cells in the body, including red blood cells. Folic acid plays an essential role in the production of genetic material, in the functioning of the nervous and immune systems, as well as in the healing process. As folic acid is necessary for the production of new cells, adequate consumption is essential during periods of growth and for the development of the fetus.
  12. The mussel contains manganese. Manganese acts as a cofactor for several enzymes, thereby facilitating a dozen different metabolic processes. It also protects the body from damage caused by free radicals. There is no recommended nutritional intake for manganese, but sufficient intake.
  13. The mussel contains iodine. Iodine is used in the composition of thyroid hormones, which are necessary for the regulation of growth, development and metabolism.

Choosing the right molds

The mussels are sold fresh (in shell or shelled) or canned. The valves of the shell mussels should be closed or closed when they are gently knocked. On the fishmonger’s stall, the mussels should not be buried in the ice, but placed on its surface. Eliminate those with broken shells.

There are also half-shell mussels, cooked, then frozen, and canned mussels, in oil, tomato, white wine or smoked.

The different varieties

There are several varieties of mussels that can be both wild and farmed. If wild mussels are still collected from various places on the planet, the cultivated mussel gains popularity, because it is generally larger and fleshier, and its flesh contains less sand and fine gravel. The main cultivated species are the Atlantic blue mussel (M. edulis), the Mediterranean blue mussel (M. galloprovincialis), the Pacific blue mussel (M. trossulus) and the Asian green mussel (Perna viridis) .

Keep well

Refrigerator: it is always preferable to consume the fresh mussels in shell the day of their purchase. Otherwise, they can be kept for two days in the refrigerator in a container covered with a damp cloth, placed in the vegetable drawer. The shelled mussels, bathed in their liquid and placed in a hermetically sealed container will keep for one or two days.

Freezer: in their shell or shelled, they will keep for three months, in an airtight container, with their natural liquid.

Preparation of the molds

How to cook them? How to match them?

Mussels take three to four minutes to open when cooked. Eliminate those that are not open.

  • Unlike oysters, mussels are rarely eaten raw, except sometimes when caught in the open sea, very fresh and unpolluted.
  • They are traditionally cooked in an aroma composed of white wine and flavored with whole pepper, parsley, onion and shallots. When they start to open, stir the pan several times to sauté and serve immediately.
  • To prepare them in sauce, they can first be opened for three minutes in a bowl of water and olive oil. They can also be cooked raw, without liquid, until they open. At the end of cooking, they will have rejected their liquid which, once passed through a sieve, can enter into the composition of the sauce.
  • Curry Mouclade: this Charentais dish has many variations, but it is generally prepared as follows. The mussels are opened in the wine with a shallot. They are served topped with a sauce of white wine, crème fraîche, an egg, a bunch of parsley and curry powder, which are thickened in a bain-marie while turning constantly. If desired, add a dash of lemon.
  • Marinated: open them on the fire and marinate them in the fridge for 12 hours in lemon, olive oil with thyme and rosemary. Serve them on toasted bread rolls rubbed with garlic, accompanying them with olives and diced tomatoes and seasoning with chopped basil.
  • In omelets, stews, soups and soups.
  • In chowder: with various fish, white wine, potatoes, a bouquet bouquet, onion and butter.
  • Add cooked mussels with their cooking water to just scrambled eggs, with chopped cream, chives and parsley.
  • Oriental style: open them in a little water, fish sauce, minced shallots and chopped lemongrass. At the end of cooking, throw chopped basil leaves (preferably Thai) in the pan and serve.
  • On skewers: open them raw, surround each of them with a thin slice of bacon, put them on a skewer and put them under or on the grill for two minutes, turning them after the first minute.
  • Cook them and serve them on a sorrel purée handled with cream and butter.
  • Serve them cold in a half-shell with a sauce made of sour cream, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and chopped chives.
  • Open them in the oven and serve them in the lower shell with butter or melted garlic butter.
  • Serve them on a fondue of young leeks with a spoonful of crème fraîche.
  • In the rosée sauce: cook the mussels in white wine, remove them and add tomato sauce, basil and a little cream to the cooking juices. Return the mussels to the pan, reheat and serve over pasta or rice.
  • Turkish stuffed: cook pilaf rice with onions, pine nuts and raisins. Heat the mussels half open, stuff them with the rice mixture, close them and place them vertically in a saucepan. Moisten with hot chicken broth mixed with the cooking water from the mussels and simmer for about ten minutes, partially covering. Place the mussels in a serving dish, drizzle with broth and serve.
  • Serve them in a very thick pumpkin cream, seasoned with nutmeg.
  • In the paella: in an ovenproof pan, pour olive oil and sauté garlic. Add raw rice and brown for a few minutes while stirring. Add hot chicken broth in which saffron has been soaked, as well as fresh or frozen peas, red peppers cut into strips, artichoke hearts and, if desired, small Spanish sausages like chorizo. Place cooked chicken pieces on top of the mixture, cover and cook for about fifteen minutes in an oven set to 175 ° C. Remove from the oven, place on the preparation raw shrimp and mussels in their shells. Cover and return to the oven for ten minutes.
  • As a salad with short pasta, chopped celery, sweet onion, herbs and a vinaigrette.
  • Mussels and fries: to vary, replace the potatoes with pieces of pumpkin, squash or fried turnip.

Side effects and allergies

Beware of tropomyosin

A team of researchers has demonstrated that tropomyosin, a protein identified as the major allergen of shrimp and lobster, is also the major allergen of a variety of molluscs of which the mussel is a part. Cross-reactions could thus occur in people allergic to certain seafood that eat mussels. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency strongly recommends that people allergic to fish or seafood consult an allergist before introducing new ones into their diet.

Beware of raw mussels

Mussels have been the subject of several studies with regard to potential poisoning following their consumption. Indeed, certain pathogens (bacteria and viruses) have been identified in raw or lightly cooked mussels, and their consumption can lead to various health problems, resulting in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness, disorientation and amnesia. People with certain illnesses, such as kidney problems, are more likely to suffer from severe symptoms due to the consumption of shellfish contaminated with marine biotoxins.

Pregnant or breastfeeding woman, abstain

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid eating raw seafood, as there is a risk of foodborne illness which can have serious consequences for the fetus or baby.

History of the mussel

The term “mold”, to designate the mollusk, appeared in the language in the 13th century. It comes from the Latin musculus, which means “little mouse” and, by extension, “seashell”.
Mussels of the Modiolus species are sometimes given the name “modiole”, while at least one species of Mytilus is called “sea date” because of its shape.
In France, the mussel raised on oak stakes is called “bouchot” (from the Celtic end – fence – and chao – wood).

Like the oyster and the clam, the mussel was one of the first marine animals to be eaten, since it could be harvested in large quantities in a short time without the need for a fishing gear. There are many species and subspecies that live in virtually all of the world’s oceans, some in tropical and semi-tropical waters, others in more temperate northern climates.

We know that the Romans maintained mussel beds on the seabed of the coast, but it is to an Irishman by the name of Patrick Walton that the legend attributes the discovery, in 1235, of the technique of breeding on wooden stakes. The only survivor of the sinking of his boat, he would have managed to reach the Charente coast. Hungry, he would have dropped his nets at low tide to catch fish (others say he was looking to take birds). It was then that he observed that mussels were attaching to the wooden stakes he had planted to hold his nets. The bouchot mussel was born. The first mussel culture site was established in 1246 and this type of breeding will spread over the entire Atlantic coast of France.

However, large-scale mussel farming as we know it today did not begin until around the 1950s in Europe, when we discovered how to collect spat (embryos) in the regions where it develops and introduce it. in regions where it is absent. Other farming methods will also be introduced: mussels are cultivated on ropes suspended from rafts or stretched between poles, or directly on the seabed.

In North America, it was not until the 1970s that attention was paid to this crop, as there was no demand for mussels, which were held in low esteem in comparison to the oyster and clam. However, the trend was reversed and in 2001 production was 25,000 metric tonnes in the United States and approximately 16,000 tonnes in Canada, mainly in Prince Edward Island, which supplies all the east of the country and exports to our neighbors to the south. By way of comparison, China, the world’s largest producer, and Spain, which comes second, harvested 535,000 and 248,000 metric tonnes respectively that year.

For further

Ecology and environment

Of all marine animal farming, shellfish farming (shellfish farming) is the one with the least harmful effects on the environment. Since shellfish are not artificially fed, such as salmon and trout, there is no risk of residues of feed, hormones or antibiotics that are not released into the environment. consumed by livestock. To feed, the molluscs allow sea water to circulate between their two open valves and take the phytoplankton which are found there in large quantities. What is not metabolized is rejected in the form of what is known as “pseudofeces” which settle on the bottom and gradually decompose there.

However, it has been observed that, in farms where mussels are found in very high concentrations, pseudofeces eventually accumulate to the point of causing an imbalance of organisms living on the seabed (benthic fauna and flora). Researchers are therefore currently trying to determine what would be the ideal density of mussels in a given marine area, that is to say that which would allow breeders to earn a good income from their work while avoiding ecological imbalances in the environment. Note that the experts who studied the impacts of mussel culture on the coastal waters of Prince Edward Island did not observe any modification in the benthic flora and fauna, which allows those responsible for the program of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s marine surveillance to conclude that, in this province, mussel farming is ecologically viable. We can therefore consume them in good conscience.

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