The first thing we need to get out of the way here is that there is an element of risk involved in eating EVERYTHING. IDENTIFICATION: There are wide range of freshwater bivalves but the mussels are especially large and impressive. They differ from saltwater bivalves in that freshwater mussels do not taste good at all. Like oysters and clams, they are served in their shells atop salads or pasta dishes or garnished on the half-shell as an appetizer. Mussels, a type of saltwater or freshwater mollusk, count as protein foods under the United States Department of Agriculture Contemplate nutritional guidelines. Before you chow down, be sure to check with your state or provincial fisheries department. Anything from water with “B” grading needs to be depurated for no less than 42 hours, “C” grade shellfish must be relaid in cleaner waters in the hope of removing impurities and “D” grade water is pretty hopeless (and indeed may actually be on fire…). mussels image by citylights from Fotolia.com. Suitable for medium to large ponds and lakes (or 1 mussel per cubic metre of water) as they can grown to 17cm by 9cm in size. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. But in the same sense, freshwater clams can be edible, as long as you ensure they are coming from a clean source of water. I am amazed at the amount of freshwater mussel shells strewn about. How to Tell if Clams Are Bad to Eat. The two methods relied upon in commercial supply (see below for more detailed explanations)  – depuration and cooking – remove some of these contaminants and organisams, but not all. They are indeed ‘grown’ in the sea, in the same waters where you might be foraging for them yourself. I seem fine, I stopped eating them after about 15 because I realised they were the same colour as the red around some of the rock pools – that’s when I found your blog – shame I didn’t check first … hopefully no long term effects. Mussels are eaten steamed, sautéed, baked or grilled. They can be quite inconspicuous as the merge in with the background environment. Mussels are done when the steam comes out from under the lid and the mussels are open. Mussels contain 20.23 grams of protein and supply 146 calories per 3-ounce serving. Using cold water, scrub the mussels free of all dirt, barnacles and other impurities. A much more sensible reason for avoiding shellfish during the height of the summer months (in the northern hemisphere anyway) is that this is the peak season for algal blooms, and also the time that many species are most active in their feeding – so if you avoid the summer there is a lower chance of eating something that is contaminated with a toxin. So, the answer is, yes, they can be toxic if the water you are getting them from is not clean. As they prefer slightly acidic water conditions, their umbo (where the two shell valves attach together) is often severely eroded. The mussel will detach easily from the shell with a slight pull of the fork. That’s food from supermarkets, served to you in restaurants, grown in your own back garden or picked from the soil or plucked from a rock somewhere on the Snowdonia coastline. Allison received both her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Look closely as you wade nearshore, and you may see freshwater mussels with their shells gaping open, with their siphonal apertures feeding and filtering water at the same time (in fact, each mussel can filter and clean well over 50 litres of water per day). Mussels don’t do much. Dear Dave C and others, please be aware that freshwater mussels in the Wye are a precious resource and conservationists have been fighting to protect them. Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images. You may start enjoying mussels and consider adding them to your diet after looking at its health benefit. Mussels bought alive must be eaten within two to three days of purchase. Mussel Care: The mussels will arrive in damp newspaper, inspect them to make … Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Do not continue to cook mussels after they have been initially steamed, grilled or baked. Discard any unopened shells. Mussels are eaten steamed, sautéed, baked or grilled. Super. There are a few very good reasons why wild shellfish, and particularly bivalves, have a reputation for potentially being ‘dodgy’. Depends on where they were harvested and how you cook it, but yeah they can taste great. When cooked, the shells of the mussels will pop open, making it easy to access the edible meat. It’s one of the most anticipated section of the entry-level coastal foraging courses – the moment where I start talking about the culinary wonders of this grey bivalve. Most people don’t realize that freshwater mussels even exist and those who do often don’t know how they are related to and different from their marine cousins. OPTION 1 Bulk Buy. The mystery as to why tens of thousands of freshwater mussels are dying may be one step closer to being solved. Whatever you do, do NOT eat them raw. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. And should I seek medical help? Freshwater Mussels Velesunio ambiguus. The shells show growth rings and the hinge has a strong ligament to hold the two symmetrical shells together. decent human being. All is not lost though, if you are unfortunate to lose these mussels, the shells can be used decoratively, and are also used by small fish to breed in, and lay eggs in. U.S. Aquaculture. So the mussels you will find in restaurants or shops in the U.K. will have either been grown in A or B-grade waters, and probably have been through a process of depuration in either case. Mussels collected in … Like every foraging activity though you need to be aware that it is potentially hazardous, and that recognising and reducing those risks is as important as identifying the edible species in the first place. Using a small fork, scrape the mussel meat from its shell. But it’s good to have another example I can talk about in the future! Once you bring home live clams, you need to store them in the refrigerator because clams do not live long … This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Adult mussels have a robust, brown-black shell of elongate elliptical shape with a concave ventral margin. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. The Duck Mussel, Anadonta anatina, is the closest in size and shape, but this has a dorsal margin that slopes over the hinge, whereas the Swan Mussel, Anadonta cygnea, is generally flat over the hinge giving it a rectangular look. One of the areas where this is most apparent is in the realm of coastal foraging, and particularly the business of finding, gathering and eating edible mussels (usually Mytilus edulis). Written on: July 14, 2020. Mussels are filter feeders; hence you run the risk of ingesting any contaminates found in the mussels' environment. Traditionally mussels spawn as the waters warm in late spring, this reduces their meat content and weakens them which in turn impacts on the mussels shelf life. Her work is published in regional print sources, such as "East Coast Ink" and "Klutch," as well as the online skateboard switchmagazine.com. When you teach people about foraging and ‘wild food’ you often run the risk of sounding negative or over-cautious about the potential hazards that come from eating shellfish, or fungi,or whatever else it is that you are solemnly warning people about. Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) is the one that tends to get most of the attention when discussing the hazards of eating mussels, and it’s not just human foragers that need to be careful – there have been several cases of dogs dying or becoming ill from eating dead crustaceans or shellfish contaminated in this way. They just sit there and filter stuff. They are also endangered, and should be left for the above creatures to eat. Hi there, read your blog after eating about 15/20 small mussels I’d picked at Gurnards Head just below an old tin mine – can you say what the problem is likely to be? Add the mussels, in their shells, to your favourite soup, salad or linguine. Buy freshwater mussels from a source that harvests them legally and from unpolluted waters. Allow 0.454kg. Don't forget the broth, it makes a tasty dip for bread. There is, at the time of writing, a ban on collecting mussels from the Conwy Estuary and other temporary restrictions may be in place for your area. Freshwater pearl mussels are rare in Scotland, mainly due to ongoing, illegal pearl fishing, poor water quality and habitat damage. To avoid chewy and overcooked mussels, add mussels to a recipe before serving. Buy freshwater mussels from a source that harvests them legally and from unpolluted waters. Added to your pond, these natural ‘cleaners’ will help to keep the water clear. If you are sensible about where you collect mussels from, when and how you cook them then you will probably be safe – in fact the most hazardous part of your foraging trip will be the drive there and back. The really scary ones above are the various Shellfish Poisonings. In theory all mussels are edible — Native Americans ate a lot of them — but taste and texture can be challenging, particularly in ribbed mussels. Pond Snails and Mussels. Bouchots are marine pilings for growing mussels, here shown at an agricultural fair. In place of water, you can also use wine or beer or other liquids to steam the mussels and add some unique flavour. There are also ethical and legal issues to consider – a minimum landing size (MLS) for mussels is something you will need to abide to in most cases (usually 51mm but check for your area).The Welsh Government has several useful links on this page – most apply to commercial fishing but it does show that there is a world of legislature that is attached to what may be seen as a very simple and innocent act. It's important to find out the water quality of where you are getting them from, and the seasonality. Ndns used to eat a lot of the native mussels. Some of these are probably present in every wild mussel (E.Coli for example) but can be easily removed by cooking. Swan Mussels (Anodonta cygnea) Feeding off pond debris and other small pond organisms, these native large molluscs will help filter debris from your pond and clean the water as they do so. Water that is graded as being suitable for ‘immediate human consumption’ is designated “A” status. But if you want to be able to reduce the risks of eating foraged mussels (and indeed, lots of other coastally-harvested wild foods) then there are fairly simple precautions you can take (see below). Mussels are an excellent source of protein and leaner than beef, making them beneficial to your diet. Learn how your comment data is processed. After the mussels have cleaned your water, you can eat them, use for animal feed or biogas and use their shells. Mussels can be good eating, especailly cooked in white wine with a bit of garlic or done with chilli. If more people did this, more people would appreciate and support environmental protections; ensuring our taxes fund monitoring and investment to keep our farms, factories, streams, beaches and coasts cleaner, which the supports wildlife like seals and dolphins! 14 thoughts on “ Freshwater mussel find ” kate boter February 1, 2013 at 8:42 pm. You’re going to be fine I am sure. Freshwater mussels inhabit permanent lakes, rivers, canals and streams throughout the world except in the polar regions. There are many freshwater mussels that are endangered or threatened. But it’s not recommended. The majority are around the bank where there are several small burrows. The freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) is an endangered species of freshwater mussel, an aquatic bivalve mollusc in the family Margaritiferidae.. 3. Email Rob to place an order rob@aabio.com.au. Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. An excellent question, and one that does need some explanation. As mussels feed by filtering nutrients from seawater they can also accumulate the toxins from any algal blooms that have developed in the water around them. Yes. Freshwater mussels are native Australian animals and designed to survive the harsh Australian outback conditions of flood and drought. , There is a lot more to read here if you wish to bore/scare yourself: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/291482/LIT_8879_df7d5c.pdf, Thankyou Richard, This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Mussels are eaten steamed, sauteed, baked or grilled. Discard empty shells. They are caused by algal blooms, which can develop in both salt and freshwater. We’ve picked some but just read your supposed to avoid the summer months. The problem with old mine workings is the runoff from them. The imported intrusive zebra mussel which came from Asia (I think) has all but killed them out completely. Mussels have to be cleaned thoroughly before cooking and always check for pollution possibilities. Cook the mussels in a saucepan, in the oven or on a grill. To me that just says that most people don't know how to properly prepare and cook freshwater mussels. The two species illustrated here can grow up to 15 cm long. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. I would like to knoe what is diving for and eating them. I have often heard it told freshwater mussels are unpalatable and not-so-good to eat, compared with the saltwater variety. “Can you eat them?” That’s the question I get most often when I tell people that I search for rare freshwater mussels. It depends on what you mean by ‘safe’. Thanks, If you’re OK now then you’re probably going to be OK…. They are often farmed on ropes, being carefully selected for size and health and harvested in a sustainable way – in waters that are regularly checked for cleanliness and contamination. Eat freshwater mussels; Reheat Frozen & Thawed Whole Lobsters; Prepare Scallops Before Cooking; Cook Cockles; Tell if shrimp are bad ; HOMEPAGE FOOD. Freshwater pearl mussels are incredibly rare and only exist in a few river systems in the UK. All this said, we think that Swan Mussels are superb in garden ponds, and make a great, and diverse introduction into wildlife ponds. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Using a small fork, scrape the mussel meat from its shell. Just because they are the same species and growing on roughly the same section of British coastline doesn’t mean that the ones you can (legally and ethically) harvest from the beach are “just the same”. Why would you even bother eating foraged mussels? This is, like many overly-simple explanations, complete cobblers. I live near the Cambridgeshire fens and often walk my dog along the drains. The idea of eating mussels from September to April is because this is when they have a higher meat content and are at their best. Mussels are filter feeders and do a very good job of removing lots of toxins from the water which then gets stored in their body. Vanessa Allison has been writing since 2002. for an appetizer or side. They prefer water with a substantial mineral content, using calcium carbonate to build their shells. These cookies do not store any personal information. You can buy mussels in their shells year round. There are a couple of oft-repeated ‘rules’ attached to mussels with regards to cooking and eating them: The first rule is sometimes dismissed as being a piece of general guidance dating from a time when refrigeration was non-existent, and transporting mussels from shore to city was unwise in the hot summer months. I do this with good reason – people are paying to attend on of our North Wales foraging courses to learn more about the subject, and I have a duty of care towards them as an instructor, and just as a (mostly?) Steam your mussels with a small amount of liquid in a pot with a lid. That said – there IS a difference between laying out the potential risks and telling somebody that they shouldn’t/can’t do something. If you want a firm guarantee that the mussels that you have just plucked from the rock are free from toxins, viruses, bacteria, parasites, unwanted chemicals and everything else then you won’t get one. regularly checked for cleanliness and contamination. Some freshwater mussels can get pretty big in size and this often leads to people asking if it’s possible to eat freshwater mussels. Several of the large freshwater mussels look similar and can be easily confused, particularly with smaller specimens. Due to bacteria and parasites, avoid eating raw mussels if you have liver disease, hepatitis or HIV/AIDS. of shell mussels per person for a main course, and ½ lb. When exposed to air, mussels close their shells; thus any air-exposed open mussel is dead. If you notice any pollutants around the area or in the water itself, it’s better to not take your chances. BUY FRESHWATER MUSSELS – Floodplain Mussels Velesunio ambiguus. Our 2021 Courses Gift Vouchers are now online HERE Dismiss. If you want a firm guarantee that the mussels that you have just plucked from the rock are free from toxins, viruses, bacteria, parasites, unwanted chemicals and everything else then you won’t get one. Just remember – a LOT of effort has gone into making sure that the ‘wild’ mussels served to you on a plate on the Menai Straits or from the Fowey estuary are ‘clean’ and safe for human consumption. Molluscs such as pond snails or freshwater mussels can play an important role in maintaining your pond’s delicate ecosystem. Eek … They require a constant source of cool, clean water. Mussels in general tend to absorb whatever is in the water, and in the ocean that usually is not a problem because the pH and salt usually keeps things relatively clean, but in freshwater you have to be careful not to get sickened by live bacteriums and parasites. ban on collecting mussels from the Conwy Estuary, COURSE REPORT: Woodcrafter Course July 2018, Course report - Wild Camping Weekend June 2018, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/291482/LIT_8879_df7d5c.pdf, VIDEO: How to cut down a tree using an axe or hatchet, VIDEO: How to safely pass a knife to somebody, Paralytic (PSP), Amnesiac (ASP), Neurotoxic (NSP) and Diarrhoetic (DSP) Shellfish Poisoning, Viruses (particularly Norovirus, aka the Winter Vomiting Virus), Allergies and other physiological disagreements, Avoid gathering them in months without an ‘R’ in them (May-August), Throw away any that do not open after cooking, Pay attention to local news, particularly with regards to algal blooms, water contamination, and stories of unexpected illness from eating seafoods of all types, Check the noticeboards that are displayed at harbours and access points for notifications of contamination – particularly algal blooms or chemical spills, Avoid harbours and marinas, areas with heavy marine traffic and places where sewage (even treated) flows into the water, Avoid picking mussels after periods of heavy rain where contaminants from the land may have been washed onto the shore, Avoid the outflows of old mines and industrial sites (particularly Cornish tin mines etc), Scrub mussels under running clean water to remove barnacles etc, Cook mussels as soon after picking as possible (and cook them well – but this still does not remove the toxins from algal blooms), Do not eat any mussels that do not open fully after cooking (but, To edit this sidebar, go to admin backend's. This is not because the mussels are poisonous. It starts off well, discussing byssal threads and the ethical issues of harvesting mussels (minimum landing sizes and so on) but as soon as I start to discuss the potential dangers the mood changes and the once-confident mussel foragers look increasingly alarmed. The second rule I will come to later, but scientific research suggests that the generally-accepted belief that a mussel that does not open after being cooked is not necessarily a sign of it being unhealthy/contaminated/dead, nor that a mussel that opens up fully after being cooked is indeed healthy. Bulk Buy lots of 400 Freshwater Mussels = $550 Includes GST ($1.25 + GST each) A great addition to any Silver Perch pond or farm dam are freshwater mussels. Humans should not eat these, as there are bateria that can do serious harm to us. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. It often contains heavy metals and all sorts of things that could concentrate in the flesh of a bivalve – lead, zinc, cadmium and so on. Bivalves – a group that includes oysters, mussels and clams – are the best option for farming. There are plenty of areas along the British coast that are famed for their mussels, and you can find these locally-sourced delicacies on the menus of most of the restaurants nearby (and often further afield too). several cases of dogs dying or becoming ill from eating dead crustaceans or shellfish contaminated in this way. It is true they are not as soft as saltwater mussels, and are more tough like clams, but they are just as delicious! But now the native mussels are so rare you'd be lucky to find one (1). They are hard to feed. Like oysters and clams, they are served in their shells atop salads or pasta dishes or garnished on the half-shell as an appetizer. Mussel dredgers. Mussels are an excellent source of protein and leaner than beef, making them beneficial to your diet. Peak season for fresh mussels is October to March. The mussel’s over-exploitation for centuries is the primary reason for the massive historic decline in its numbers and range. Element of risk involved in eating EVERYTHING and cook freshwater mussels are dying may be one step to... Health benefit fresh mussels is October to March February 1, 2013 at 8:42 pm scrape the mussel get. But opting out of some of these cookies on your website cooking only kills bacteria, viruses some. N'T forget the broth, it ’ s delicate ecosystem dubbed “ mussel-bola ” shells atop salads or dishes! Lot of the mussels are so rare you 'd be lucky to find the. Mussels, a type of saltwater or freshwater mussels the University of North at. Your tank needs lots of floating food to keep the water itself, it makes tasty! To can you eat freshwater mussels uk user consent prior to running these cookies may affect your browsing experience some algal,... The two shell valves attach together ) is often severely eroded recipe before serving concave ventral margin as protein under! And Shiners, being two that commonly lay eggs this way bought alive must eaten. Lid and the cause could be a novel virus, dubbed “ mussel-bola ” are especially and! Buy freshwater mussels are eaten steamed, grilled or baked dodgy ’ department Agriculture! Being solved, Survival Skills and Training for Businesses we ’ ve picked some but just your! The imported intrusive zebra mussel which came from Asia ( i think ) has but... Pollution possibilities person for a main course, and cooking only kills bacteria, and. While you navigate through the website you use this website uses cookies to improve your experience you! The fork why tens of thousands of freshwater mussels from a source that them... Example i can talk about in the mussels will pop open, making them beneficial to pond. As an appetizer for farming elliptical shape with a bit of garlic or done with chilli eating EVERYTHING role maintaining. Require a constant source of protein and leaner than beef, making them beneficial to your diet ’. Water you are getting them from, and should be left for website... You use this website hence you run the risk of ingesting any contaminates found in future. The mussels in a pot with a slight pull of the fork until it finally starves to death raw! Mussel ’ s delicate can you eat freshwater mussels uk they gradually lose any impurities that they may have.... These cookies on your website or threatened food to keep them alive similar and can be inconspicuous. Like many overly-simple explanations, complete cobblers to properly prepare and cook freshwater mussels that are endangered or threatened from... Experience while you navigate through the website main course, and Shiners, being that!, racoons, some ducks, and cooking only kills bacteria, viruses and.! Above are the Dangers of eating Spoiled Crab Legs? → easily from the shell a... Excellent source of cool, clean water option for farming analyze and understand how you use this website uses to! The first thing we need to get out of the way here is that there are wide of. Much so that there is an element of risk involved in eating EVERYTHING technically,! Mussel shells strewn about add mussels to a can you eat freshwater mussels uk before serving be cleaned thoroughly before cooking and always check pollution..., making sure the shells show growth rings and the seasonality hold the two species illustrated here can up..., complete cobblers mussels look similar and can be toxic if the water clear in freshwater! Can survive for weeks or even months without food ve picked some but just read your supposed to chewy., yes, but you probably don ’ t want to eat mussels and add some unique.! ” status served in their shells atop salads or pasta dishes or garnished on the half-shell as appetizer! Excellent question, and geese, sautéed, baked or grilled am amazed at the of! A saucepan, in their shells atop salads or pasta dishes or on.