Learn how to prepare and cook mussels - green-rated on the Good Fish Guide.

Are mussels sustainable?

Farmed blue mussels, like those usually found in supermarkets, are a sustainable choice and green-rated on the Good Fish Guide. They are also one of the most low calorie protein options out there.

Mussels are grown (farmed) on ropes that are suspended out at sea and have little environmental impact. Sometimes mussel farms can even increase local biodiversity, for example by providing shelter for young fish.

Farmed mussels do not require feeding, as they get all of their nutrient requirements from the surrounding water.

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How to prepare mussels

Mussels that we buy from the supermarkets often have already been sorted through and prepared, however, it's worth giving them a check over yourself.

Look for the following:

  • If the mussels are dirty, clean them under running water, washing away any grit and remove barnacles
  • Remove any ‘beards’ on the mussels - these are hair-like fibres coming out of the shell and can be removed by pinching the threads between thumb and forefinger and sliding towards the tip of the shell
  • Tap any open mussels, if they don’t close, throw them away (they’re dead)
  • Throw away any mussels with broken or cracked shells

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Mussels with bacon, cider and cream

This recipe takes under 10 minutes to whip up and makes a delicious speedy supper.

Ingredients (per person):

  • Small glug of olive oil
  • Small handful of streaky bacon, diced
  • 100ml dry cider
  • 500g mussels, cleaned
  • Splash of double cream
  • 1tbsp chives
  • Crusty bread to serve


  1. Heat up the oil in a large pan with a tight-fitting lid, that will be big enough to hold all the ingredients
  2. Chop up the bacon and add to the pan, frying until brown
  3. Add the cider into the pan, scraping the bottom to deglaze
  4. Bring the pan to the boil and add the mussels, and cover with the lid. Cook on a medium high heat for 2 minutes, shaking occasionally
  5. Remove the lid from the pan, most of the mussels should have opened, if not, return the lid and cook for a further 30 seconds
  6. Once most of the mussels have opened, add the cream and stir through
  7. Ladle the mussels into bowls, top with chives and serve with crusty bread, if you like

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