How To

How to prepare mussels

Preparing mussels properly is the key to a spectacular shellfish dish. Our Test Kitchen shows you how to make sure your mussels are on point.
Loading the player...

Ever tucked into a bowl of mussels and found they are full of sand, grit or haven’t had their beards removed? If not, trust us; it’s an experience you’d love to forget.

To ensure you don’t make these mistakes yourself, we had our Test Kitchen share their best tips for preparing mussels.

How do you know which mussels are good?

Before you get cleaning, you have to separate the edible mussels from the dead ones – these are any that are cracked, chipped or wide open.

Those that are slightly ajar could still be alive and kicking so here’s your chance to save a life.

How? Gently squeeze them closed and if they stay shut, well done – you’ve just brought your mussels back from the brink (and saved yourself a few bucks)!

What’s the best way to clean mussels?

Our Test Kitchen recommends two everyday household items that will easily do the trick.

A clean scourer or a hard brush are perfect for buffing away any debris from the shells, leaving them with a smooth and shiny finish.

How do you debeard a mussel?

We guarantee this will be your quickest shave ever!

To debeard your mussels you first have to know what you’re looking for – a hairy length of rope growing out of the shell.

Now, hold the mussel in your hand and pull the beard down towards the open end, as shown in the above video. Discard this part – no one wants hair in their food.

And, that’s it! Your mussels are now ready to be used.

Keen to use your new know-how but need some inspiration? Check out our favourite mussel recipes and plenty more Test Kitchen tips in the links below.

Related stories

Moules marniere (et moules frites)
Dinner ideas

Moules marniere (sailor-style mussels)

The secret to this recipe is the amount of olive oil used. Perfect as a second course or as the main course for a light summer lunch, served with salad and crusty bread or with chips (frites). The moules in France are small and sweet. This recipe is not suitable for those large green New […]