Mussels are some of the most famous delicacies. The beneficial properties of mussels have been appreciated by basically everyone. Annually, farms specializing in growing this seafood produce around ten million tonnes. Artificial mussel breeding began a long time ago.
History says that in 1234, Irish fishermen were the first to invent the artificial method of growing this delicacy. At that time, the caviar shells were placed on oak trunks and lowered to the bottom of the sea. Today, the food industry has a much more modern approach.
Fresh mussels are unlike any other shellfish you may have tried before. They’re fresh, flavorful, and a great choice for seafood lovers. But like with anything else in the world of food, there is always a price that needs to be paid.
How much do mussels cost per pound?
The average wholesale price range for US mussels in 2023 is between $5 and $8.5 per kilogram (kg) or between $2.22 and $3.81 per pound (lb). The specific price may vary depending on the market, location, and time of purchase.
For example, you could buy two pounds of mussels from Whole Foods for the price of $7.
Also, Wegman, another well-known grocery store sells the same amount for $9.
The price of mussels is higher at Costco, where a pound of fresh mussels costs around $15.
A cheaper option is represented by the frozen bags of mussels sold at around $6 per two-pound bag.
You can buy even fully cooked mussels from Walmart for the price of only $7 per two-pound bag.
For US blue mussels, the approximate wholesale price ranges between $1.27 and $1.9 per lb.
The cost of live mussels per kg, from Marks Food, is around $49. However, the website offers Live Maine Mussels for sale in bulk, with a weight range of 5-10 lbs (approximately 2.27-4.54 kg) and a price between $122 and $155.
Purchasing mussels or other similar clams from most retailers typically means getting them by the pound or packing them into a bag of one or two pounds. To save money, you can purchase online and many well-known retailers will pack 10-20% more than what’s listed on their website to account for any losses during shipping. There are about 20 to 25 fresh mussels in a pound which is enough for two to three individuals.
Mussels are one of the most delicious seafood dishes out there. They can be purchased either in a frozen state at your local grocery store or fresh from any fish market near you. If you buy them already cleaned and vacuum-sealed, all that’s left to do is to open the bag up and boil them for 10 minutes before serving them with some sauce for an incredible dish.
Mussels are not only delicious but also versatile. They can be harvested straight from the ocean or grown at local farms for commercial use.
What are the extra costs?
If you purchase online you should take into consideration the fragility of the order and be able to get your package on the doorstep in a matter of days. Shipping costs should not be more than $10 for most packages but there may be exceptions depending on the size/weight of the package and where you live.
Depending on the way you want to cook the mussels you must consider the additional costs of spices and herbs.
Important things about mussels and their shells
Mussel species can be distinguished by size (from 2 to 8 inches), color (from golden-brown to blue-black), lifespan (from 5 to 30 years), and the taste of meat. It is considered that the flesh of black mussels is softer and finer.
The mussels are a fast-selling seafood item, but they expire quickly. If you buy them from the grocery store then cook them on the day of purchase.
Make sure to look for tightly closed shells when buying as it means that they are fresh and avoid those with broken or open shells. Also, a good sign that they are fresh is their smell which should be similar to that of saltwater.
An advantage of mussels is that they are versatile and easy to cook. When you buy them, fresh mussels should be kept on an ice bed, and the shell should be shiny and wet. They must be left in cold water and thoroughly cleaned of sand and dirt, each shell separately. The mussels should be cooked for about 4-5 minutes until the shells open. The ones left closed are thrown away.
If you’re cooking mussels, there’s one step that should not be missed: scrubbing any beard found on the shell. Usually, these hairs are already removed by seafood vendors before distribution to retailers and restaurants, but if this is not the case for your purchase remove them with a firm tug or cut it off using a knife or scissors.
Mussels can be cooked in different ways. The boiled-frozen ones are boiled for 2-3 minutes after the water has started to boil. Boil frozen mussels for 5-7 minutes. Fresh mussels in shells boil for 12 minutes. In the microwave oven at maximum power, frozen mussels can be boiled with a little water (a glass of water per half a kilogram of mussels) for 7 minutes, at a power of 800 W.
Keep in mind that mussels are delicate shellfish that will become tough and shrink if overcooked. It’s best to cook them for only about 5 minutes.
Mussel experts recommend eating them within 24 to 48 hours of buying or catching them because they expire quickly and their flavor may change if left too long before cooking.
Store your fresh mussels in a damp cloth or wet newspaper when you plan to cook them later. Wrapping the delicacies tightly will help keep their moisture, so they can last for up to a week. If frozen, make sure that it is properly covered and sealed before storing it away inside the freezer. The best thing about freezing this delicious seafood is that it lasts really long – up to four months with proper care.
The benefits of mussels, oysters, and other clams
Mussels are high in protein and low in fat. Proteins are responsible for many of the body’s cellular functions. A serving of mussels provides about 30% of your daily protein requirement.
Mussels are a source of iron. A 100 g serving of mussels provides about a third of the required daily dose of iron. Iron prevents the most common form of anemia, which can cause fatigue and weakness.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for heart health. They regulate the heartbeat, lower blood pressure, and help blood vessels to function properly. Mussels are rich in Omega-3 – with anti-inflammatory effects. They also contain an increased amount of vitamin B12 – which provides protection against heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids also protect brain health, along with vitamin B-12.
Mussels are low in calories and high in lean protein and healthy fats – making them foods that provide satiety.
Possible side effects
Although mussels are healthy, nutritious, and easy to prepare, they also have some possible disadvantages. Here are these:
Shell allergy refers to an abnormal response of the body to specific proteins found in shells. When it comes to mussels, it is believed that a protein called tropomyosin is one of the main allergens. Although the prevalence of shellfish allergy varies worldwide, the estimated overall prevalence is 0-5 to 2.5% of the population. Shell allergy can be extremely serious and a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) can be life-threatening. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to shellfish include vomiting and diarrhea, stomach pain and cramps, swelling of the throat, tongue or lips, hives. Shortness of breath may also occur.
Risk of contamination and infections
When mussels are harvested from contaminated water (with high levels of chlorine or copper), there is a risk of infection and poisoning. There is also a risk of contamination with heavy metals such as lead, mercury, or cadmium. As with other mussels, mussels filter water from their habitat.
If bacterial pathogens are present in this water, they could contaminate mussels. Food poisoning can result from these bacteria, viruses, or parasites that are acquired from their environment. The pathogens continue to grow in raw shells and those that are stored incorrectly. Therefore, proper storage and preparation of shells can be an effective way to prevent such problems.
It is important to buy mussels from safe places, to wash them well, and to cook them properly.
Mussels nutritional values
How can I save money?
When choosing this delicacy, cook them as soon as possible in order to enjoy their freshness.
Follow the sales or promotions at local grocery stores as well to maximize savings.