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HOW TO KEEP LIVE MUSSLES FRESH

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How To Store Live Mussels And Keep Them Fresh

Mussels are very delicate food and they really need to be cooked right, but what is even more important is how to keep live mussels fresh and alive.

Storing mussels properly is especially important if you work in a restaurant. If you need them for home you can buy 2-3 pounds or a small bag of 5 pounds, but restaurants usually purchase large bags of 15-20 pounds and don't usually sell all of them on the same day.

I have seen a lot of cooks that don't even have a clue how to cook mussels properly, let alone store them. That's why I have designed a system to keep mussels fresh for at least 4-5 days without too much effort. I think that my system is superior even to what grocery stores do to keep their mussels fresh.

Here it is:

Live mussels

Live mussels

1. Before you open the bag of mussels, check the tag that is attached to the bag. It must state the "harvested" date and "use before" date. If the mussels have been harvested more than 2-3 days before, they won't probably be in the best of shape to begin with. So, it is important to check that before you buy them. After that, wash the thoroughly under cold running water and pull all the barnacles, also called "beards".

2. Put all the mussels in a large colander, cover them with 2-3 kitchen towels and spread 2 pitchers of ice over the towels. Sprinkle a tablespoon of coarse sea salt over the ice.

3. Place the colander with the mussels in a large stainless mixing bowl, in order to capture all the water from the melting ice, and place them in the cooler.

4. Check the mussels every day, replacing the ice on top and throwing the water under the colander. After each addition of new ice sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt on top.

The idea for this strategy is that mussels don't like fresh water, especially stagnant water. It kills them fast. So, the gradual melting of the ice and the salt provide them with just enough moisture to stay alive and well.

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Chef George Krumov
About the author: George Krumov is a Red Seal certified chef with many years of culinary experience working around the world in Europe, the Middle East, the cruise line industry and North America. In the last decade he has headed the kitchens of several restaurants in Canada, and ran his own restaurant.

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