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A mussel disaster - What happened?

puppymomma May 21, 2007 09:23 AM

On Saturday, I stopped at a fish market and bought muscles. I ended up saving them for the next day and on Sunday I took them out of the fridge to cook them. They were all dead.

I don't get it? did I need to store them under water? Or might they have been bad from the start? I've only bought muscles one other time, so this was fairly new to me.


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    Christnp RE: puppymomma May 21, 2007 09:26 AM

    Mussels need air and moisture, but should not be underwater. A plastic bag with multiple holes layed over a bed of ice works best. A closed plastic bag will suffocate them, and they don't do well in a dry refrigerator environment for too long.

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      ennyl RE: puppymomma May 21, 2007 09:27 AM

      How did you store them? Live mussels or clams should store for several days if stored properly. Place them in a colander, put the colander in a bowl, cover them with ice and a clean kitchen towel, and store in the coldest part of your fridge. Never store shellfish in water.

      1. PBSF RE: puppymomma May 21, 2007 09:32 AM

        I assume you meant "mussels". If they were alive when you bought them, they should be fine the next day if you stored them loosely covered in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Plastic bag or tightly covered container would not work, nor is drowning them in tap water.

        3 Replies
        1. re: PBSF
          puppymomma RE: PBSF May 21, 2007 09:39 AM

          Oops! Yes, I meant "mussels"! My spelling is aweful!

          I did have them in the plastic grocery bag in which they were given to me. Perhaps I suffocated them.


          Thanks for all the storage advice. Next time, I'll try that.

          1. re: puppymomma
            JudiAU RE: puppymomma May 21, 2007 05:40 PM

            Afraid so...they need a low temperature (i.e. ice AND refrigerator) and air.

            1. re: JudiAU
              aurora50 RE: JudiAU May 22, 2007 02:10 PM

              Lobsters will die without air, also. Whenever I buy live mussels, clams, or lobsters, I always have the fishmonger just wrap them loosely in butcher paper before I bring them home. Believe it or not, a lot of "butcher/meat" people behind the counter, especially in places like Albertson's, Vons or the like, don't know how to handle fresh/live shellfish.

        2. Chowpatty RE: puppymomma May 21, 2007 04:15 PM

          I don't mean to be dense, but what do you mean by dead? Were they open or closed? If I bought mussels and the next day they were all closed I would just cook them up...how would I know if they were alive or not?

          3 Replies
          1. re: Chowpatty
            Pat Hammond RE: Chowpatty May 21, 2007 04:28 PM

            If they're closed, they're alive. If they're open and won't close when you tap them on the counter, they're dead (no telling for how long!).

            1. re: Chowpatty
              puppymomma RE: Chowpatty May 22, 2007 06:54 AM

              What I understand is that if they are open to any extent, you tap them, and they close up if they are alive. Most of mine the next day were open and wouldn't close. There were a few closed up, but I thought that to be safe with them, you don't use the closed-up ones.


              1. re: puppymomma
                Davwud RE: puppymomma May 22, 2007 02:04 PM

                If they don't close before you cook them, get rid of them. If they don't open when you cook them. Get rid of them. Other than that, enjoy.


            2. Megiac RE: puppymomma May 21, 2007 04:24 PM

              I know that you can keep them for a day if stored correctly, but I always buy mussels the day I plan to cook them. The fishmonger can keep them in much better condition that I ever could, and I like to reduce the amount of mussels that I have to throw out. But even if you are keeping them for just a few hours, the plastic bag should not be sealed. I usually ask the store to take a plastic bag, fill it part way with ice, put the mussels in on top of the ice, and then keep the bag open.

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                bebs RE: puppymomma May 24, 2007 04:47 AM

                you bought bad mussels, I have kept them in the refridge for a day or two no problem

                2 Replies
                1. re: bebs
                  scunge RE: bebs May 24, 2007 04:55 AM

                  While we're on the subject of mussels what are the best ? ,wild from local waters,New Zealand ,Prnce Edward Island,farm raised ?????? Thanks

                  1. re: scunge
                    Davwud RE: scunge May 24, 2007 11:32 AM

                    I've only had mussels from PEI or BC.

                    I love them both but the BC ones tasted very similar to the PEI but were much bigger. They took up most of the shell.
                    The only local mussels we get here are Zebra mussels. Not sure if they're good eats normally but I certainly wouldn't eat anything that came out of Lake Ontario.



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