Ask Evan: Can I Freeze Mussels?

Every Tuesday I answer a question from a Good Food listener. You can email me a question, leave one on Facebook or add one in the comments section here. This week’s question comes from Nancy:

How do you/can you? freeze live mussels in the shell? There is a lot of conflicting advice.

I’m sure this answer is too late for you this time so I’m hoping you share what you eventually decided to do.  From all I managed to read on the subject freezing live mussels in the shell is not highly recommended.  It is possible to do but the shelf life is rather limited (approximately 3 months).  A better choice would be to steam or boil the mussels to open them.  Boiling in brine keeps the meat from shrinking.  Remove the meat from the shells then place on a cookie sheet so they don’t touch and freeze them.  You can then take the frozen meat off the sheet pan and put it in a vacuum pack and back in the freezer.  Or you can can the mussels in a pressure cooker with brine.  The most complete discussion of preserving the mussel harvest I found is from the Food and Agriculture Organization here.

  • Rosaline Binnix

    Over the w/e I purchased too many mussels. I knew not to freeze them so I rinsed them in

    • Sally

      Hi, Today I bought 5kg of fresh mussels from Conwy, have steamed them, eaten what the 2 of us could with bred to soak up some of the cooking juices (of white wine, garlic and shallots). With the rest I took the mussels out of their shells and put into freezer boxes with some remaining cooking juices. This seems to work well as long as the mussels are defrosted well before thoroughly and slowly reheating.

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  • Personally, I just pop them in the freezer pretty much as is. I don't have to worry about the 3-month shelf life since they're consumed well before a couple of weeks at most.

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