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Mussels - still good??

Seafood newbie here... I bought some fresh mussels yesterday, put them in a bowl, covered them with a DRY paper towel (missed the damp towel part) and threw them in the fridge.

Plan is to cook them tonight but now I'm concerned if they're dead since they weren't kept moist. Most of them seem pretty closed up right now.

Use or toss??

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  1. You won't really know until you try to cook them. If they don't open they are bad.

    1. do you now how fresh they actually were when you got them?

      try cooking a few and see what happens.

      1. If they are closed, they should be OK. If any are open, run them under cold water, holding the edge of the shell. If you feel pressure, they are alive and trying to close...they're good. If they don't move, toss them. I would expect most of them to be good.

        1. All bags of mussels have a harvest date tag on them.

          2 Replies
          1. re: pegasis0066

            which means very little as to how well they were transported and stored before the op got them. i always cook mussels same day because of that.

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              Well if you buy from a reputable source, you need not worry about transportation and storage. Last time I bought some from the large chain store they were terrible - not making that mistake again.

              I just had some yesterday that I purchased the day before - they were just fine.

          2. I've store mussels in the fridge over ice for nearly 2 days and they've been fine. When you cook as others mention make sure they are closed. If not, tap on the counter and if they don't close then toss them. When you cook remove any that don't open. Some are stubborn and take longer so I pull each mussel out when they open and then let any of the rest still closed stay in the pot as I reduce the sauce. If they are not open by then I toss them. Also yes check the harvest date and I think the stores are allowed to keep them 2 weeks from that date so should be ok that long.

            1. You might as well cook them. If any are open now, give them the tap test and see if they close (if not, then toss those). Then cook, any still closed are dead.

              Assuming they were alive and cooked OK, they should be OK to eat but I wouldnt leave them 24 hours as a regular thing.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Harters

                If they don't close when tapped, toss them. If they do, keep and cook those.

                  1. re: Harters

                    How I read your post, you seemed to be saying that if they don't close, they should be tossed. I just wanted to make sure there was no confusion. :)

              2. Thanks everyone! Looks like there was no need for concern, short of a few not opening up after cooking, they turned out perfect!

                1. Late to respond if you already cooked them, but after reading through the responses I felt a need to clarify the advice. Maybe this will help somebody else in the future.

                  When you bring mussels home, store them under moist towels.

                  Before cooking: When you go to cook, check each mussel. Clean off any beards. If they are closed, put them in the pot to be cooked. If they are open tap on them to see if they close. If they do not close when tapped throw them out. (it means they are already dead and do not want to eat them).

                  Cooking: Follow whatever recipe you are planning to make. Near the end of cooking time, start removing the mussels that are open. Now open means GOOD! Continue cooking for a few more minutes, removing the mussels as they open. After a few minutes, turn off the heat and throw out any mussels that have not opened.

                  1. I'm late and I've mentioned this on other threads but anyone else notice the inherent contradiction in the usual advice about cooking mussels that shows up here?

                    If mussels are not closed (i.e. open) prior to cooking, throw them out as they are dead.

                    If mussels are closed (i.e. not open) after cooking, throw them out as they were dead (assume this to mean prior to cooking as all of them are dead after cooking).

                    So a dead mussel can't contract its shell prior to cooking but it can hold itself closed tight after cooking according to this advice. This line of reasoning is inherently contradictory.

                    I've posted this link to an article that demonstrates the common wisdom is wrong (not unusual)

                    1. A little late, but mussels around here around the tide line, and are used to be high and dry for short periods of time (like every time the tide goes out). They clamp up tight to protect themselves, so when they're sold they behave like there's a particularly long low tide :-). I've kept mussels in the fridge for up to 3 days, when I inadvertently buy more than can be used in one meal. BTW, I find a wet, wrung-out dishtowel easier to use than paper towels.