A mussel is black colored shellfish that is edible.
The mussel's external shell is composed of two hinged halves or "valves". The valves are joined together on the outside by a ligament, and are closed when necessary by strong internal muscles. Mussel shells carry out a variety of functions, including support for soft tissues, protection from predators and protection against desiccation.
The shell has three layers. In the pearly mussels there is an inner iridescent layer of nacre (mother-of-pearl) composed of calcium carbonate, which is continuously secreted by the mantle; the prismatic layer, a middle layer of chalky white crystals of calcium carbonate in a protein matrix; and the periostracum, an outer pigmented layer resembling a skin. The periostracum is composed of a protein called conchin, and its function is to protect the prismatic layer from abrasion and dissolution by acids (especially important in freshwater forms where the decay of leaf materials produces acids).
Selecting and Buying
Buy mussels that are freshly caught and are still alive.
Marine mussels are abundant in the low and mid intertidal zone in temperate seas globally.
Other species of marine mussel live in tropical intertidal areas, but not in the same huge numbers as in temperate zones.
Certain species of marine mussels prefer salt marshes or quiet bays, while others thrive in pounding surf, completely covering wave-washed rocks. Some species have colonized abyssal depths near hydrothermal vents. The South African white mussel exceptionally doesn't bind itself to rocks but burrows into sandy beaches extending two tubes above the sand surface for ingestion of food and water and exhausting wastes.
Freshwater mussels inhabit permanent lakes, rivers, canals and streams throughout the world except in the polar regions. They require a constant source of cool, clean water. They prefer water with a substantial mineral content, using calcium carbonate to build their shells.
Preparation and Use
Mussels can be grilled, boiled, or steamed.
Discard mussels that are still closed shut even after cooking
Conserving and Storing
Storing mussels is a bad idea. Mussels should be served quickly after coming from market. It creates bad toxins, while losing its freshness that can lead to food poisoning.
For short term storage, pack mussels in ice and keep in the fridge until ready for use. Store them in the coolest part of your fridge for at least 3 days