Mussels: Main Image

Buying Tips

Quality mussels are easy to recognize. Fresh mussels smell clean, like the ocean, and the shells of live mussels are tightly closed. If the mussel is slightly open (no more than 1/4-inch or 0.635cm), tap the shell, and a healthy mussel will close it within 30 seconds.


The blue mussels native to the Pacific Northwest may be wild-gathered or farmed. You can tell them apart because wild mussels are rough, while farm-raised muscles have a clean, smooth shell. Green mussels from New Zealand are larger. Mussels are sold live, frozen whole, as frozen or canned meat, sometimes smoked.

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The information presented in the Food Guide is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2022.