View Full Version : Freshwater Mussels
Gathered some freshwater mussels this morning. As far as I know they are edible, the only reference I can find is in "Essential Bushcraft". Has anyone got any info on their edibility, dangers and cooking methods?
Mussels are bivalve filter feeders so they get their food by filtering the water around them for nourishment. This means that if the water contains pollutants then the chances are the mussels are bad to eat.
I don't know how you can tell, short of getting the water tested.
If you do decide to eat them then there's some recipes here:
Mussel Recipes (http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/search.shtml?scope=recipes&q=mussels&go.x=0&go.y=0)
Do you know what kind of freshwater mussels they are?
If they are freshwater pearl mussels (Margaritifera margaritifera) then they are endangered and should not be touched - in scotland they are protected and collecting them could result in a £5000 fine!
If however they are the more common Unio tumidus then yes they are edible - but like Stew said it all depends on the quality of the water they grow in. If you are at all uncertain then don't touch them they dont taste good enough to risk salmonella or such like!
Personally I wouldn't eat any filter feeder unless I was very sure of the water quality. I only eat sea mussels when I know where they come from and I dont eat freshwater ones at all.
Having said that I reckon one of the nicest ways to eat them is to fry a little garlic in some butter in a deep saucepan, throw in some chopped parsley then the scraped cleaned mussels (make sure all of the shells are tightly closed - if they are open they are probably already dead and you don't want to risk that) stir them around for a minute or two and then add a couple of glasses of white wine or cider. After a couple of minutes all of the shells should have opened and added their juices to the cooking liquid. Take out the cooked mussels and put them aside. (throw away any that haven't opened) Boil the cooking liquor hard to reduce it by about half. Pour it over the mussels and serve immediately. delicious!!!
I'm sure there are a million and one other recipes but this "one pot wonder" is my favourite.
If they are freshwater pearl mussels (Margaritifera margaritifera) then they are endangered and should not be touched
Thanks for pointing that out george :-)
Remember folks, if you don't know what they are, or can't identify them LEAVE ALONE.
Cheers for the info Guys.
I got them out of a land-drain (about 4 metres wide) under a motorway bridge. Most of the time the water in that drain is clear but I think there's a small sewage plant on it a few miles up stream. So I think I'll play it safe and just use them as bait for fishing. Its a pity they can be so dangerous because they look to have a lot of meat in them, 4.5 - 6 cm in width, 7.5 - 10 cm in length.
I looked in my Field Guide and they are the more common variety.
A bit of a mega bump considering the date of the posts.
Does anyone know more or have experiences of eating/growing fresh water mussels?? I'm interested in their value as a viable food source if used in conjunction with aquaponics.