How to debeard, clean and store mussels

How to Clean Mussels

Fresh mussels can be bought from fishmongers, seafood specialty stores, and major grocery stores. The shops providing the mussels will probably not clean them before selling them to customers. In order to keep them healthy and tasty while being cooked and prepared, mussels need to have the ocean dirt and sand removed from them, as well as the beards emerging from the shells. Clean mussels right before cooking them.


  1. Pick out and throw away any defective mussels.Mussels should be closed tightly. Tap any open mussels lightly against the counter. They should close up immediately, but if they do not close, throw them out. Discard any other mussels with open shells. Unwrap them from the bag or packaging as soon as they get home to allow them to breathe. If they die before they are consumed, the mussels will be poisonous.
  2. Soak the mussels.Submerge the mussels in a bowl of clean, cool water. Leave them to soak for 20 minutes. While underwater, they will breathe and filter the water, which will begin to push out any sand or ocean minerals from inside their shells.
  3. Remove the beards from the mussels.Little brown threads may be sticking out from between the 2 shells. This is the beard. Grasp the beard and pull it out and towards the hinge end of the mussel. Remove it completely and discard.
  4. Remove the mussels from the water.Use a slotted spoon to take the mussels out of the bowl. Place them in another clean bowl of water. Do not reuse the first bowl by draining and refilling it. Using the slotted spoon will help ensure that the sand from the water does not re-enter the mussel.
  5. Brush off any sand and debris 1 mussel at a time.Pull them individually out of the second bowl of water and gently scrub at the shell. Pick off any slime that may be clinging to the shell. Rinse them off under running water.
  6. Pat the mussels lightly with a clean towel to dry.Dump the bowls of water, and cook the mussels any way that is desired.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    How do I clean beards off of a mussel?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Follow the instructions listed in the article above.
  • Question
    How do I prepare greenshell mussells?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    The same way you prepare any other type of mussel.
  • Question
    If I wash the mussels and they open, can I eat them?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No. That could mean they are too old or have been opened before, which could make you sick.
  • Question
    I thought that submerging mussels in fresh water to remove sand and ocean debris was a sure way to kill them?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No. In fact, fresh water mussels thrive in water. Just keep the water moving by placing the bowl under a running tap.
  • Question
    If mussels float in water, are they okay?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No, if mussels are floating, they are dead or empty and you could potentially become ill if you ate them.
  • Question
    How do I clean the shells for craft (scaling)?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Fill a pot with equal parts water and bleach. Soak the shells in the solution. Once the coating is gone, you can remove the shells from the solution. Rinse your shells thoroughly and allow to dry completely. Rub baby oil or mineral oil on the shells to restore shine.
  • Question
    Can I clean mussels a day before I'm going to cook them?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, but they need to stay refrigerated until you're ready to cook them.
  • Question
    Can I refrigerate mussels before cooking them?
    Sonča Dubovská
    Community Answer
    Yes, you can put mussels into a tub with a wet cloth on the top. They should last around 5 days. Get rid of the open ones (if there are any) before cooking.
Unanswered Questions
  • How do I prepare mussels that were frozen fresh?
  • What are the differences between a clam and a mussel?
  • What do floating or sinking mussels mean as far as freshness?
  • If a mussel floats is it good to eat?
  • Is it dangerous to eat the mussels if they were not put in water till the next day?
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  • The beard is not inedible, and it is okay if the entire thing cannot be removed.
  • It is possible that not all the mussels will have beards. This is okay, it just means that it was probably removed during the catching and processing of the mussels.
  • If you must store your mussels make sure you do so correctly to avoid spoilage.


  • Shellfish can sometimes be affected by paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins, which is often associated with "red tide" situations in coastal waters. Check with the Department of Agriculture about any warnings in the area where mussels are purchased.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 bowls of water
  • Slotted spoon
  • Dry towel

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Date: 06.12.2018, 18:30 / Views: 42395