How to prepare and cook mussels

How to clean, prepare and cook mussels.

Points to remember

  • Sort through mussels, tapping any that are open lightly on a surface to see if they close shut. Discard the ones that remain open, or any that are damaged (they have perished and are not safe to eat). Pull off the beard, and scrape any barnacles off using the back of a knife then rinse.
  • Cook according to recipe, discarding any that are still shut after cooking.

Mussels should be alive when you cook them. Consuming mussels that have perished before cooking can cause food poisoning.


Store mussels in a bowl, covered with a damp cloth, in the bottom of the fridge. Apart from when cleaning, don’t store or submerge the mussels in water or you’ll drown them.