If you are looking for cheap yet flavourful shellfish to put on your plate, then mussels are the perfect candidate. While they grow on the coastline rocks and stones, majority of the mussels you find in the UK are farmed in suitable coastal waters. Generally, they feed on plankton, turning it into nutritious meaty flesh. However, they are also indiscriminate feeders, so they have to be gathered from unpolluted waters; this is one reason why most of the mussels you find in supermarkets and fishmongers are farmed.
When buying mussels, choose those with tightly closed shells, which is an indication that they are fresh. On the other hand, avoid those with chipped, broken, or damaged shells. You can have them barbecued, boiled, roasted, or fried in butter or vegetable oil. Before cooking them, there are some things you need to take into consideration, though. See to it that they are alive before you cook them. If they are open and unresponsive, it means that they are dead. In this case, discard them. It is also recommended that you thoroughly rinse them in water and remove their beards.
Mussels need very little cooking, and overcooking them can cause their flesh to be rubbery, which is not what you would want. You know they are ready when the shells start gaping open.
Besides being cheap and flavourful, mussels are healthy, too. They contain various vitamins and minerals, including manganese, selenium, and zinc. Manganese helps regulate blood sugar levels, control blood clotting, and produce sex hormones. Selenium and zinc boost your immune system and act as antioxidants to prevent cellular damage.
Mussels are also rich in vitamins, particularly vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B12. A one-cup serving of mussels has 240 international units of vitamin A, providing 10 percent of the daily recommended intake of the vitamin for women and 8 percent for men. Vitamin A is needed for the production of new red blood cells, helps nourish your eyes and skin, and boosts your immune system. A six-ounce serving of steamed mussels can provide 26 percent and 31 percent of the daily vitamin C needs for men and women, respectively. This serving of mussels also contains 40.8 micrograms of vitamin B12, providing your entire recommended daily intake of the vitamin. Vitamin C helps keep your teeth, ligaments, and tendons strong, while vitamin B12 enhances your mood and is essential in nerve communication.
Besides having high amounts various vitamins and minerals, mussels are also rich in protein, a macronutrient needed for various body functions, including the building and repairing of tissues. They are also a great source of highly desirable long chain fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These fats have several benefits, including enhancing brain function and reducing inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis.
Indeed, mussels are cheap and healthy. But, there is another reason why they should be served on your plate -- they are very sustainable, so consuming them does not negatively affect the environment. Buy fresh line caught mussels online here.