The edible part of the mussel (the orangemost shell-shaped surface) is a muscle. The taste of seafood is ambiguous: it varies from sweet to salty, and with each movement of the jaw it gives out new and new combinations. Mussels are eaten in all sorts of states, from raw to dried or canned.

Seafood is also served in radically different locations: in Michelin-starred restaurants and on beaches in the countryside. What is an ingredient and what real benefit or pleasure can a person bring?

General characteristics of the product

Mussels belong to the genus of marine bivalve molluscs of the mytilid family. Representatives of mussels, which mankind eats, live mainly in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Mollusks especially liked the littoral (tidal zone with stones or sand) and the upper sublittoral. It is from there that fishermen catch them and deliver them to land for sale.

The mussel looks like two connected oblong shells. The outer surface of this shell is painted in a dark range of colors: from olive to purple, turning into black. The dark palette is diluted with slight light blotches and stripes. Average dimensions: 8 centimeters long and 4 centimeters high.

Edible mussels have one significant difference from other varieties of shellfish. The crown and front edge of an edible animal are aligned, while in other species they are shifted.

The triangular-elongated shape of the shells hides inside a strong muscle - the only animal organ that we eat. The surface of the shell is smooth and shiny, with age it becomes overgrown with other marine life: sponges, bryozoans, balanus and hydroiodine. They destroy the surface and lead to the destruction of the animal. The inner flaps of the shell are perfectly smooth (so as not to damage the muscle) with a mother-of-pearl tint.

Peculiarities of ecology

All littoral organisms are adapted to adverse environmental conditions, otherwise they simply would not survive in the course of natural selection. At low tide, the mussel tightly closes the valves of its shell. A certain amount of sea water gets inside. The liquid enters the mantle plane and from there the mollusk scoops it up to maintain vital activity. Sea water supplies last for several days.

The tide has time to change the ebb, and the mussel opens its doors again and returns to its usual daily routine. Also, animals are able to withstand sharp fluctuations in temperature (both daily and seasonal).

Brief historical background

Mussels were present in the diet of the ancient Romans (about 70 thousand years ago). Catching and artificial breeding began in the 13th century in Ireland. A few centuries later, production reached an industrial scale: they created entire farms for growing seafood, export supplies were established, strong trade relations were established, and new varieties of mussels began to be bred. Today, the leading countries of the world are engaged in the industrial cultivation of mussels: Australia, China, Spain, Scotland, Japan, Belgium, France, Chile.

The people of Belgium fell in love with the sea delicacy so much that the locals decided to organize a mussel festival. It is held annually at the end of August. All thematic establishments of the country and coastal areas are filled with celebration, food and customers.

Useful properties of the ingredient


Selenium (Se) is one of the most important components hormones. These hormones work tirelessly every day to make a person feel good and be able to feel happiness. The element helps the body absorb iodine better, faster and more efficiently. This, in turn, guarantees the health of the thyroid gland - the main hormone-forming organ.

Selenium helps to strengthen the protective function of the immune system, protects us from pathogenic microflora. Scientists have found that the element is able to prevent the development of herpes. If the HPV virus has already settled in the body, then selenium minimizes its manifestations and reduces herpes exacerbations to zero.

Physicians point out the importance of consuming selenium products after long-term therapy with “heavy” medications. The element will restore liver cells, improve mineral metabolism, and prevent the development of stones. Therefore, in addition to traditional probiotics, also pay attention to seafood.

The benefits of selenium are most noticeable for women during pregnancy. The element reduces the duration and strength of the manifestation of toxicosis. Instead of languishing from toxicosis, organize an evening for yourself at a specialized fish restaurant. In addition, such an event will also cause emotional release. In addition to reducing toxicosis, selenium contributes to the normal intrauterine development of the fetus and significantly improves the well-being and appearance of the mother.

Men should also pay attention to mussels. Due to selenium, the male hormonal background is leveled. Androgens and testosterone bring not only unshakable confidence, but also increased libido.


Sodium (Na) is the main ion in human blood. In addition, the element maintains the health of the muscular corset, the functionality of nervous activity, and the equal distribution of fluid throughout the body. Sodium is also responsible for the transport function within the human body.

In the process of evolution, man consumed little sodium and our body resorted to a little trick. Even minimal intake of sodium leads to its reserve and accumulation. The body specifically holds the element and consumes it very carefully.

Modern man is no longer afraid of sodium deficiency. Only 100 grams of mussels contain 280 milligrams of the element. Now humanity is suffering from an excess of the component:

  • edema;
  • hypertension;
  • kidney disease.

Watch your own diet to avoid overdosing on sodium. The main blocker of sodium - potassium, should be constantly on your menu and balance the balance of power. Do not forget about the dosage of seafood. Allow yourself 2-3 fish meals a week to nourish the body with useful substances and minimize possible risks.


100 grams of mussels contain about 15 grams of protein. Moreover, protein from seafood is absorbed much faster and easier than animal protein from the same beef. Mussel meat is much easier to digest, does not provoke heaviness in the stomach and negates abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and heartburn.

Vitamins and fatty acids

The benefits of vitamins and fatty acids are:

  • improved skin condition;
  • slowing down the aging process;
  • release of free radicals;
  • the formation of a strong and beautiful nail plate, hair follicle;
  • body regeneration.

Chemical composition of seafood

Nutritional value (per 100 grams of raw product)
Calories 77 kcal
Proteins 11.5 g
Fats 2 g
Carbs 3.3 g
Dietary fiber 0 g
Water 82 g
Ash 1.6 g
Vitamin composition (in milligrams per 100 grams of raw product)
Retinol (A) 0.06
Thiamine (B1) 0.1
Riboflavin (B2) 0.14 ​​
Ascorbic acid (С) 1
Tocopherol (E) 0.9
Nicotinic acid (PP) 3.7
(14 7)
Nutrient balance (in milligrams per 100 grams of raw food)
Potassium (K) 310
Calcium (Ca) 50
Magnesium (Mg) 30
Sodium (Na) 290
Sulfur (S) 115
Phosphorus (P) 210
Trace elements
Iron (Fe) 0.0032

Using the ingredient in cooking

Mussel meat (which is a muscle) is very tender and soft. In taste, it remotely resembles the protein of a chicken or quail egg with a more saturated and harmonious taste. The culinary palette of seafood consists of a viscous, sweetish aftertaste, which is replaced by a pleasant marine note.

Only tightly closed mussels are used for food. The sashes must be even and complete. Even with the slightest damage, the mollusk becomes unfit for human consumption.

Most often, clams are boiled or baked. Heat treatment helps the mussels open up and acquire a milder taste (the overcooked product becomes tough, it is almost impossible to chew it). If the animal did not open the sash during cooking, then it is not used. Nobody eats the sashes themselves, the main delicacy of the mussel is the mantle, the muscle and the liquid that is inside.

How clams are cooked:

  • pan fried;
  • grill/oven/bonfire;
  • boiled in broth/wine/plain water with spices;
  • marinate;
  • canned;
  • stew;
  • smoked;
  • steamed.

Mussel and Shrimp Risotto Recipe

We will need:

  • ) rice - 400 g;
  • ​​
  • mussels - 500 g;
  • tomatoes - 250 g;
  • shrimp - 350 g;
  • bow - 1 pc;
  • dry white wine - 200 ml;
  • dry martini - 50 ml;
  • vegetable oil to taste - 10 ml;
  • vegetable broth (can be replaced with fish or seafood broth) - 1.5-2 liters;
  • lemon - 1 piece;
  • spices and herbs to taste.


Prepare a saucepan, fry minced garlic in it (with a drop of vegetable oil for frying).

Once the onion is soft and golden brown, add the rest of the ingredients. Pour wine into the pan, add a few sprigs of thyme, your favorite spices and pour out the main component of the dish - mussels. Leave the mass to simmer for 1-2 minutes, then enter the peeled shrimp.

An important culinary aspect: if you use fresh mussels, then there is no need to add salt to the dish. Seafood contains a sufficient amount of salt, which they will also give to other components. If the mussels were frozen (i.e., a number of properties have already been lost), then salt must be introduced. Taste the dish periodically and focus on your taste preferences.

Cover the pot tightly with a lid, set the heat to medium and cook the contents for about 2-3 minutes. As soon as the mussel doors open, add chopped tomatoes, herbs and, if necessary, spices to the pan. Stir and remove from heat.

In parallel with the preparation of mussels, take care of rice. Fry rice in a saucepan with a drop of vegetable oil. The grains should be completely saturated with oil, filled with taste and aromatic component. Then pour the broth into the saucepan and bring it to a boil. After boiling, lower the temperature and cook, stirring constantly, until the broth is completely boiled away. During cooking, add a glass of martini and spices to taste into the broth.

As soon as the broth boils away, pour the contents of the first saucepan into the rice, pour over the lemon juice and serve immediately before the food has cooled.

How to choose the right mussels

The choice of seafood should be approached as responsibly as possible. Your health directly depends on the quality of the ingredient. Mussels can develop harmful microorganisms or concentrate mercury. In the best case, after such a meal, a person will feel a slight malaise, in the worst case, he will be hospitalized.

If you live far away from seafood, buy frozen mussels. Modern manufacturers use shock freezing. The ingredient is frozen at -40°C and below. The pathogenic microflora immediately dies, and the mussel itself does not have time to feel what happened. The meat remains the same juicy, tasty, nutritious and, most importantly, disinfected.

If you're lucky enough to find a quality fishmonger or deal directly with a supplier, don't let your guard down. Inspect the appearance of seafood and storage conditions. If the mussels are stored in an excessive amount of flowing ice, refuse to buy. Ice indicates that the product has been repeatedly frozen and thawed. Mussels automatically lose their beneficial properties and become "empty" in terms of nutrient and vitamin composition. Moreover, re-freezing of thawed foods is prohibited. In the process of repeated defrosting, pathogenic microflora develops in mussels, which makes the gift of the sea unfit for consumption.