September - ‘Shetland Mussel Season is upon us’
We generally class the mussel season as any month with and ‘R’ in it. We sell mussels all year round but there is a “reason for a season” as you will have a better eating experience with fish and seafood when product is generally in season, at is best!
I personally will only eat mussels in the typical season as I see the difference in them in September and they only get fatter and better tasting from here on. A big bowl of mussels with French bread on my dining room table with my wife, children and friends is a rewarding dining experience for me.
Mussels spawn in the summer months when water temperatures rise which reduces the meat content of the product, also in the summer months the waters in and around Shetland are susceptible to algal blooms and toxins accumulate in the mussel which have to be monitored/tested weekly for suitable human consumption. This is why sometimes in the summer we have limited or no stock.
We would advise mussels going on the menu now from September through to April and you will experience some of Shetland’s lovely plump, high meat content, thin shelled mussels from our supplier “Seaspray” on the Shetland Isle’s.
Seaspray mussels are top quality where the naturally pristine environment is ideal for the mussels to develop and grow as Mother Nature intended. The Seaspray product comes from “Boutique” mussel farm sites where farm managers can ensure that the mussels are handled with care to provide the quality product required by the end user. The farm managers are committed to ensuring that the Shetland environment is protected for the enjoyment of future generations of their own families as well as the unique location for the production of top quality shellfish.
My Handling Tips:
In my opinion mussels are fragile soles and must be respected and handled correctly as follows.
Mussels must be chilled and kept cold, do not expose to dehydration – what I mean by this is do not let chiller fans blow cold air over them as they will simply dry out and die.
Keep the mussels on a tray or a container that has drain holes and place a wet towel or newspaper over the top to keep them in a moist cold damp environment.
Fresh water will kill a mussel - do not submerge in fresh water (a rinse when ready to cook will suffice).
De-bearding mussels to premature will kill a mussel – I look at a mussels beard as like a baby’s umbilical cord – which is attached to important working internal stuff? Pull the bears off at the last minute before cooking to ensure you do not injure your mussel – they are living creatures!
Mussels grown on ropes in Shetland have thinner shells than mussels dredged from seabed’s so handle with care as not to smash the mussels
Mussels that are open and refuse to close if tapped are dead and should be discarded before cooking and mussels that do not open during cooking should be discarded as they may have been dead before cooking commenced.
Ask our team for Yellow net Seaspray Mussels – 5 kg nets, fully traceable for peace of mind.