What Do Mussels Taste Like? (Are They Good?)

Mussels are one of those seafood items that so many people don’t try because they are skeptical about trying them.  A lot of people are afraid of the safety of eating raw seafood and because of this they never get to experience the taste of something new.  A lot of us ask what do mussels taste like?  And will I like them?  Well, let’s find out what you can expect when do try mussels. 

What do mussels taste like?   Mussels have a very natural ocean flavor that is a bit salty, a hint of sweetness, with a little mushroom undertone.  The texture of a mussel is somewhat soft but still chewy when in the mouth.  You do not have to do much flavoring to a mussel because they come from the ocean they have an excellent fresh taste.

What are some of the different types of mussels?

There are a lot of different types of mussels that live in both fresh and saltwater.  The below are the most common types of saltwater mussels that you typically will find at your local fish market or supermarket.  Depending on where you live in the country you could find:

Blue mussels or the a.k.a edible mussel.  These particular mussels are available in the spring and winter months.  They are smaller than the most common but have a great taste.

Green-lip mussels are large compared to blue mussels and have a small green color at the edge of the shell.  They are grown in New Zealand. 

Mediterranean mussels run during the fall and summer months and have a much wider shell and have plumper meat.

What do freshwater mussels taste like?

Freshwater mussels are not as nearly known as their saltwater counterpart.   In-fact most don’t even now freshwater mussels exist.  Freshwater mussels can live a long time and because they are filter filters they can take on a taste that is not great.  Pollutants can build up in older freshwater mussels cause them to be unhealthy and distasteful 

Do clams and mussels taste the same?

Mussels and clams do not taste the same.  Even though you can cook them the same way they have different flavors.  Clams have a saltwater taste to them and a more fishy taste.  But do not confuse this with something bad.  Clams are delicious cooked or eaten raw.  Clams are chewy in texture compared to that of a mussel.

Unlike clams, we suggest you do not eat raw mussels even though some people do.  Raw clams shucked with a little lemon and cocktail sauce can be heaven.

Remember there is always a risk of eating raw seafood so keep this in mind before you do. 

Mussel nutritional information

Mussels are part of the bivalve mollusks family and can come from both fresh and saltwater.  They have edible insides and have an elongated rounded or oval shell on the outside.  The below is based on Blue Cooked Mussels.  The source is from the USDA.

  Daily Value
Total Fat 3.8 g5%
Saturated fat 0.7 g3%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g-
Monounsaturated fat 0.9 g-
Cholesterol 48 mg016%
Sodium 314 mg13%
Potassium 228 mg6%
Total Carbohydrate 6 g2%
Dietary fiber 0 g0 %
Protein 20 g40%
Vitamin A5%
Vitamin C19%
Calcium2%
Vitamin B-65%
Iron31%
Cobalamin340%
Magnesium7%

Storing mussels for the best taste before eating

How do mussels taste

While you can buy and eat frozen mussels we feel that fresh live mussels are absolutely better tasting.  If you have a go-to fishmonger then you should speak to him about the mussels and how to go about choosing mussels.  They will tell you when the mussels came in and how to transport them home and how to store them.  

When choosing live mussels make sure they have a tightly closed shell and then use your noise.  They should have a nice briny, fresh smell to them.  If you see a bag with a lot of cracked shells or a lot of the mussels has partially opened shells then those are not what you want. 

Mussels are alive so they require you to store them correctly before you cook them.  They have to get air so do not store them in airtight containers or plastic bags that will cut off the air supply and kill them.  The easiest way is to put them in a bowl and then cover them with a tamp towel.   

For a few days in the fridge put them in a colander and put that colander over a bowl and then add some ice to the top.  When the ice slowly melts it can drain from the colander into the bowl keeping the mussels out of the water.

Best tasting recipes for mussels

Mussels taste excellent in many different ways the below are some great ways to eat mussels with the best taste.

Steamed Mussels in White wine

One of the tastiest and easiest ways to make fresh mussels is to steam them with white wine, butter, shallots, garlic, chicken stock, and heavy cream.  You can read more about this recipe here.  and learn how to make it.

Grilled mussels

Grilling adds an extra dimension of flavor to your mussels.  The smokiness makes mussels taste extraordinary and if you have not tried grilling mussels you need to try this.  Here is a recipe for grilled mussels and glams with garlic, almonds, and mint. 

Mussels and tomato chowder

Mussels and tomato chowder is an excellent way to cook mussels and the taste is excellent. Read more about how to make this tomato-based chowder with mussels here.

More foods to taste

We hope we explained the flavor and state of what a mussel will be like when you try it.  It may also be worth looking at some other foods and what they will taste like.   Check out our taste review on jackfruit, dragon fruit, yuca, turnips, and elderberry.

Our final thoughts on mussel taste

If you haven’t tried mussels you are definitely missing out.  Mussels have a great ocean taste and can be made in several ways that provide an excellent eating experience.  

If you feel like making mussels on your own is too big of a challenge you can start off by finding a seafood restaurant in your area and order them there to get started.   We highly recommend you give tasting mussels a try they really are good. 

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About ASmith

Adam loves cooking and cooking products like cookware, tools, gadgets, and more to help make cooking easier in the kitchen. When Adam is not trying out new kitchen tools in the kitchen you find him researching the next best kitchen gadgets.