Mussels - OK to Order?
I had mussels last night for dinner from a fairly reputable restaurant in Washington, D.C. Today, my stomach is definitely not right.
Granted, it could be due to something I ate several days ago, but I spoke with my dad who said that summer months might not be the best time to order mussels (months ending in an 'R' are best). Is there serious validity to this? Should I stop ordering mussels until September?
Thanks for any and all insight!
Both mussles and oysters are fine to eat in the summer. Mussels are grown year round and are generally handled and transported in modern ways -- the latter may not have been the case when the "R" thing was started, long ago.
There is a RED TIDE alert in some parts of New Englans which has closed clam and mussel beds, though I doubt that that is the case with you.
I am betting that you just ate a bad mussel or two. It's not that uncommon a situation, unfortunately.
Hi everyone! thanks so much for all of the responses.
To answer some questions, YES I did have fries with Aioli (How did you know?)! :)
Thanks for the warm sentiments, Cassis, I am feeling better this evening, finally.
Makingsense, according to Wikipedia (as pointed out by Miss Needle) mussels are 'in season' in the months ending in 'R' However, you are clearly pretty knowledgeable about the issue, so I'm going to have to take your advice!
I still think it was something specific that got the better of me, as opposed to a combination of the rich foods, be it the aioli or the mussels...or the sandwich I had for lunch. Anyway, again, all responses have been much appreciated!
The "R" thing applies to oysters because they spawn in months that don't contain an R in their names in English. When they're spawning, they put their energies into that and the flesh loses quality and flavor. They're still OK cooked but not so good raw. They won't harm you but why pay so much for something you won't enjoy as much when Fall arrives? There are some diploid, or sterile, or oysters which never spawn and are exempt from this rule.
This doesn't apply to mussels because there are so many different varieties which all spawn at different times throughout the year.
Most restaurants have no idea what type they're serving unless they make a specialty of mussels. You are going to get what you pay for as less expensive ones are more likely to be scrawny, less meaty, cheap varieties.
There are diploid, sterile versions of mussels as well. Rope-grown mussels are some of the best and also the most expensive.
The Pacific Seafood Group has a good explanation of mussel varieties and culture.
It's not likely that the mussels themselves are what gave you the funny tummy if the restaurant is a good one, but rich broth combined with frites, dipping sauces, plus beer/wine can do that to the best of us.
Did you have it with Frites? If so, did they servie it with Aioli? Most Aiolis are made with eggs and if they sit too long, maybe that's your culprit. However, if it is, you might have symptoms worse than just "not sitting right".
Also, if you had your Moules with a load of garlic, maybe it's a garlic O.D., which I suffer once in a while.
I've definitely heard the R thing when it comes to oysters. But according to Wikipedia, they also use it to describe mussels as well.
I used to go to Prince Edward Island during the summer and would eat mussels all the time. Never had a problem. I'd also eat mussels (and oysters) in the summer in NY and have been fine with it as well. Your GI issues could be due to the mussels, but I think it's an isolated incident. If it truly was a problem, restaurants wouldn't be serving it.