How to Tell if Mussels are Bad?

If you’re wondering how to tell if mussels are wrong, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few things to look for. These shellfish can be used as a starter in restaurants or steam-cooked to savor their natural state. To determine if the mussels are wrong, you should use the following tips.

Make sure the mussels smell fresh. They should not smell like fish or be stale. Also, mussels should close by themselves without any assistance. If the mussels smell bad, they’re best to be discarded. Mussels should be eaten only when they’re in season. Usually, shellfish are safe to eat from September through April. And however, they’ll taste sour if you find them out of season.

How to Tell If Mussels Are Bad ?

Look for a use-by date on the shellfish. It’s crucial to know the exact date before consuming mussels. Mussels have a short shelf life, and they can spoil within two to five days. If they open up while cooking, they’re probably not fresh. So, always check the label before purchasing.

It will also help if the mussels are appropriately kept in the fridge.  If mussels aren’t alive, they should be cleaned with a damp cloth. Don’t store them in water, as they will die if exposed to tap water. In addition, mussels keep for up to two days in the fridge, and typically, they should be eaten the same day. Ensure proper storage and cooking techniques to keep them fresh. This way, you can save money and enjoy a delicious meal.

How to Tell if Mussels are Bad?

The way to check if mussels are wrong is by checking them before you cook them. A mussel that doesn’t close properly, does not open properly, or floats to the surface during cooking should be discarded. Besides, if a mussel is alive, you should cook it within a day. If it’s not alive, it should be frozen if it stays at room temperature for more than two hours.

One widespread misunderstanding is that exposed mussels are always nasty and should be avoided. This isn’t always the case, and there are various methods and apparent signals that can help you decide whether to eat them or throw them out right away. If mussels are open before cooking, they have gone wrong. Mussels that have been opened before being cooked are most likely still alive. Please wait for the shell to seal up after tapping it with your finger or the side of a bowl. If the shell does not close after being tapped, it should be discarded.

They should close on their own, and even if some do so slowly, they are still functional and alive. Throw them away if they don’t close. All mussels with broken shells or a foul odor and any that feel unusually heavy or light compared to the others should be discarded. Check to see if the shell’s opening is half-open. This could indicate that the mussel is unhealthy. If the shell is partially open, tap it. If the mussel shuts entirely, it is still alive and safe to consume.

How to Buy Mussels?

When buying mussels, be sure to inspect them thoroughly. Mussels should not smell fishy or have a foul odor. Besides, they should also be closed and not floating in the water. If they float in water, they’re dead or have empty shells, and they’re also best discarded. Then again, it would help if you only ate mussels with a fresh and salty smell.

Tips for Buying Fresh Mussels

So you’ve assembled a group of mussels, all of which have closed shells, with the open ones retreating into their shells out of dread and self-pity. But are you sure they’re all packed and ready to go? Consider taking these extra precautions to get rid of the ones that aren’t edible.

Check your Source

Mussels should be maintained on the ice at the market or store and have healthy, shining shells. Mussels with strange, dull-looking shells should be regarded with caution. Make sure they’re labeled with the harvest date, location, and use-by date.

Broken or Cracked Shells

Usually, these mussels are dead. Tap them for good measure to check if they open. You can take them home if they do.

Heavier than the Rest

Another typical sign that things are not looking up, heavier mussels are usually a sign that water and sand have seeped in.

They may Feel Cold

At the market, live mussels are frequently packaged in ice. They open themselves to take in the sun and air to warm up, just like their cold-blooded far distant cousins, crocodiles. For a few seconds, clench your fist around these to test if they seal tightly. They’re alive and well if they do. To see if they close up, spray them with cold water. If they’re alive, their reflexes will react.

There’s Something Fishy Here

The odor of spoiled seafood hits you square in the face for a purpose. This is normal and intentional, and it’s a warning not to consume it. A peculiar or extremely fishy pong indicates that the mussel has reached the end of its shelf life. Mussels should have a light, salty, and fresh aroma.

Flip the Floaters

Put your mussels in a water dish and cover them with water. They’re either dead, or the shells are empty if any of them rise to the top and float.

If you’re buying mussels at the market, check them for life. A dead mussel will not be worth eating or cooking, and the shell will be closed, indicating that the mussel wasn’t alive when it was shut. They’re probably dead if they don’t close and should be thrown away. You should cook mussels in a refrigerator if you don’t intend to serve them immediately for best results.

How to Store Mussels?

Mussels must be stored just as carefully as they are purchased. It’s pointless to bring home a new batch and leave them to rot while you prepare and cook them. Remove the packaged mussels from the packaging as soon as you get home and arrange them individually in a container or mesh bag. The mussels must be able to breathe, so the container must be opened.

Using a clean moist paper towel or cloth, cover them. Mussels should not be stored in water, and don’t put them in the freezer. If mussels are kept in tap water for more than 15 minutes, the ice will melt and form water in the refrigerator. Frequently drain any water that has accumulated in the container. The mussels may be kept fresh for up to 5 days, but you should smell them every day to make sure they aren’t fishy.


How to Clean and  Prepare Mussels?

It probably doesn’t need to be said that mussel preparation and cooking on the same day is optimal. Any fresh food product, particularly seafood, can be justified similarly. However, this isn’t always achievable, and thus careful storage is essential.

Although male mussels have pale cream-colored flesh and female mussels have orange flesh, they all grow “beards.” The beards are an interwoven cluster of fibers that protrude from the side of the mussel’s shell and help it adhere to surfaces. The fishmongers usually clean these up, but some may be left behind. With your fingertips, carefully take them away.

Place the mussels in a colander and scrub them with a tapered brush or paring knife under cool running water to remove residues such as seaweed and barnacles. To remove any leftover grit or sand, soak your mussels in cold, salted water for about half an hour. Use coarse salt, such as ground kosher salt, to make your brine.

How to Cook Mussels?

Although creamed, buttered mussels are famous among mussel fans and are often served as restaurants’ appetizers. Steaming mussels is a classic way to enjoy them in their natural condition.

  • Sniff your mussels one more time to make sure they’re still fresh. Give them one more rinse under running water and double-check that they all go from open to closed or vice versa. To get a reaction, lightly tap or squeeze them again. They’re probably dead if there isn’t one and should be tossed.
  • The liquid used for the steaming doesn’t have to be water. Popular choices are beer, wine, or anything you can think of.
  • You can pre-cook chopped tomatoes and onions in butter or olive oil with a squirt of lemon. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Use a pot or pan that’s wide and large to give enough space for the liquid to circulate and cook the mussels evenly.
  • Place your chosen liquid in the pot to cover the base. Don’t overfill, and the liquid needs to boil quickly to produce steam.
  • Turn the stovetop or element to its highest setting.
  • Add the mussels and cover with the lid until the liquid boils.
  • Mussels take 5 to 7 minutes to cook, depending on their size, quantity, or amount of liquid used.
  • Once the steam bubbles out from under the lid, wait another 15 minutes and remove the lid.
  • Let the mussels rest for a minute or so. Your mussels are ready to be served!
  • Allowing the mussels to cook longer than necessary is sometimes simple to misinterpret for the untrained novice. Mussels that have been overcooked can become chewy and rough. Check them every 1 or 2 minutes and use a tong to remove any opened.


After cooking mussels, make sure that you use the liquid you would like to drink. An excellent example of this is white wine. White wine is used to flavor mussels, and you should use a white wine that would be pleasant to drink. It’s best to use two cups of liquid, and you don’t saturate the mussels and dilute their natural flavors. When cooking mussels, be sure to check them every couple of minutes. If the shell is open when you buy them, they’re probably alive. To ensure safety, you should tap the shell several times before cooking.

Before cooking mussels, check the shell for cracks or breaks. If the shell cracks while in transit, the mussel is likely dead. Dead shellfish are contaminated with microorganisms and can cause food poisoning and other health problems. These symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and dizziness. It would help if you also watched out for hot and cold fever. If you suspect that mussels are dead, you should throw them away.