Mussels are a delicious seafood delicacy that is popular across the world. They make for great starters and main courses in particular.
Mussels were made famous by the Belgians and their tasty dish, Moules-Frites (mussels and fries). If you have never tasted this dish before, we highly recommend it.
If you have purchased a bulk amount of mussels and have some leftover, it would be a great shame to have to throw them out. While you can safely keep mussels in the refrigerator for a few days, their expiration date is fairly short.
As with any seafood you need to pay extra attention to the expiry date and be on top of your food hygiene.
You may be wondering whether or not you can freeze mussels to eat at a later date, and if it is safe to do so. You will be glad to know that you can indeed freeze mussels safely.
In this article, we will be giving you advice on the best way to freeze mussels. We will be talking you through the best way to safely defrost mussels and factors you should consider before freezing.
So do not move a muscle and carry on reading this article if you want to find out more!
How To Freeze Mussels
As with any kind of fresh seafood, it is best to freeze muscles as quickly as possible. In doing so, you will help to prevent any potential build-up of harmful bacteria that could potentially cause food poisoning.
We would recommend freezing them on the first or second day of purchase to ensure they are frozen as fresh and quickly as possible.
Fresh mussels must be frozen while they are alive. If you freeze fresh mussels that are already dead, they will be dangerous to eat once thawed. Always wash fresh mussels before freezing to get rid of any harmful bacteria.
You will want to freeze fresh mussels in their shells. As they are fairly small, they should not take up too much room in your freezer.
We would recommend putting the mussels in a bag that can be properly sealed. This will help to prevent them from being affected by freezer burn. Take as much air out of the bag as possible, and do not fill it fully. Leave a small gap at the top of the bag.
You can also freeze cooked mussels if you prefer. Cooked mussels will already be dead, but they are safe to consume, unlike dead fresh mussels.
Ensure that the mussels have cooked fully and do not contain any excess liquid before freezing. The unshelled mussels should then be frozen as quickly as possible.
Mussels can be safely frozen for up to three months before they will need to be thrown away.
How To Defrost Mussels
Defrosting your mussels correctly is essential to help prevent foodborne illnesses. We would highly recommend only defrosting your mussels in the refrigerator. If you leave them to defrost on the counter, especially on a warm day they will become a breeding ground for bacteria.
Defrosting them in the refrigerator will allow them to defrost slowly and safely at a cooler temperature. Place the mussels in a shallow dish or on a plate so that any liquid is caught. This will help to prevent any potential contamination in your refrigerator.
For the best results, we would recommend defrosting your mussels overnight. This will give them enough time to fully defrost. You do not want to consume the mussels if they have not been thawed fully.
Once the mussels have been completely thawed, we would recommend cooking them as quickly as possible. However, they are safe to leave in the fridge for up to two days after defrosting. Always remember that you cannot refreeze mussels once they have been thawed out.
Always be careful when defrosting fresh mussels as they have not yet been cooked. It is always best to place them at the bottom of your refrigerator. This will help to prevent any of the liquid from spilling on to anything else in the refrigerator.
Factors To Consider Before Freezing Mussels
Fresh Vs Cooked
Whether or not you precook your mussels before you freeze them is entirely up to you. There is no one preferred method.
If you are cooking your mussels before freezing, the defrosting and reheating process will be a lot shorter. This is because you do not have to worry about raw meat.
While you still need to be careful when defrosting and should use them as soon as possible, cooked mussels do not carry as much risk as fresh oysters.
Fresh oysters should be handled more carefully and should always be defrosted on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator to help prevent any spillages. Freezing oysters while they are fresh is a lot quicker process. However, the overall defrosting and cooking process will take longer.
As with the majority of foods that have been frozen and thawed, mussels do change in texture and taste slightly. If you want to eat mussels as fresh as possible, it is best to eat them on the day of purchase.
However, just because the texture of mussels may change slightly, as long as they are frozen, defrosted, and reheated or cooked properly, they are not dangerous to consume in any way. Naturally, freezing changes the texture slightly.
To help prevent this, always seal the mussels as best as possible and allow them to thaw slowly in the refrigerator.
We hope this article has helped you gain more of an understanding of how to safely freeze and defrost mussels.
Freezing them is such a handy thing to do. It allows you to save money by being able to bulk buy mussels, without the worry of having to throw out any excess food.
As always, ensure that you are freezing them as soon as possible to help prevent any build-up of bacteria. If you follow our easy steps above, you cannot go wrong!