Green Mussels Vs Black Mussels: What’s The Difference?

Green Mussels

Both green mussels and black mussels make up the main ingredient in many delicious dishes. These mussels types bring great mushroom-like flavor to your meal with a slightly sweet taste but are they the same?

The truth is that while there are many similarities between green and black mussels, there are also many differences that you should take into account before you pick for your next meal.

Green Mussels Vs Black Mussels: Comparison Chart

Differences  Green mussels  Black mussels 
Color  Greenish or grey shade shells  Black or dark shade shells 
Flavor  Sweet, mushroom-like taste  Sweeter and stronger flavor than green mussels
Size  6 inches 2.5 inches 
Availability  Harder to find, especially in the US More available than green mussels 
Origin  South America and North America coasts, New Zeeland Pacific coasts, Atlantic coasts 
Texture  Chewy  Soft and tender 

Are Green Or Black Mussels Better?

Green and black mussels are similar in terms of taste so it is difficult to decide if one type is better than the other. However, considering that the black mussels tend to have a more intense and sweeter taste compared to green mussels, many people prefer them as well.

Ultimately, you can enjoy your mussels the way you want as long as you prepare them correctly and with the right seasonings.

In terms of health, both green mussels and black mussels are rich in protein, low in fat, and great for the health of your muscles, bones, and cartilages. They are also great for your skin as well, regardless of the type of mussels you go for.

 Black Mussels

When Should You Use Black Mussels And Green Mussles In Your Recipes?

Green and black muscles can become part of many different types of meals as you can use them interchangeably. You can also use either of these mussels to replace clams or oysters successfully.

It is important to know, however, that, unlike clamps or oysters, mussels can’t be enjoyed raw and you will have to cook them to make the best out of them in a recipe.

The only way to serve raw mussels is by letting them soak in acid marinate.

What Does Green Mussels Taste Like?

Green mussels have a deliciously sweet flavor, also similar to mushrooms. They are chewy yet tender at the same time. The final taste of mussels will depend on the way you prepare them and the seasonings you use in your recipe.

Pan-fried green mussels can be more tender and less sweet and they will take a lot of flavor from the rest of your ingredients. On the other hand, when they are boiled, these mussels will acquire the chewy texture that many love.

Just make sure you don’t overboil them. Well-boiled green mussels are ready in about 3-6 minutes. As soon as they open you will have to check them in they are cooked and remove them from the heat.

Cooking your mussels the right way and for the right amount of time, helps you make sure they have the right texture, and flavor and they are easy to remove from the shell.

If you want to make your mussels taste even better, know that you can always add garlic, onion, butter, or black pepper and salt, and they go excellent with a glass of white wine.

Which Mussels Are Better Blue Or Green?

Many people prefer green mussels as they are bigger as well as richer in terms of flavor. However, blue mussels are not only smaller as they also have a briny taste and they are even chewier than green mussels.

If you are not an expert in terms of mussels, it can be difficult to tell the difference in terms of taste between green ones and blue ones. But once you have each type of mussels a few times, it will become more obvious and you will most likely have your preferences.

How To Choose The Best Mussels?

The best mussels are the live ones and they are also the most pricey. Fresh mussels make a great choice for all kinds of dishes. Look out for mussels that have skinny shells and moist texture, and try to purchase them unfrozen if that is possible.

Mussels that go bad usually stick and they have a spoiled odor. Your mussels should have a sea smell that is specific to all seafood but they should still smell fresh and inviting.

Check also if the mussels are open as this could be a sign that they are old. Fresh mussels are generally closed and even if they are slightly open, they still require cooking to get to the state you want them to be.

What Does Go Well With Green And Black Mussels? 

If you want to prepare some delicious mussels, you will be glad to know that they go great with a variety of drinks and side dishes.

In terms of drinks, you can pair your green or black mussels with white wine, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, or even beer and cider. If you are looking for a delicious side dish, everything from fries to rice and veggies could be a great option.

Mussels are tasty by themselves as well, so if you want to have a serving you can enjoy it with no other side dish. Don’t pair mussels with meat or fish unless you like such a variety of protein sources in particular.

How Many Ways You Can Store Mussels?

If you made too many mussels, there are two ways that you can store them safely so you can enjoy them later.

Store Them In The Refrigerator 

The easiest method to store your mussels is to refrigerate them.

Just place your live mussels in a container with no lid. You want them to receive the air they need while they sit in the fridge. It is also important to add a tray underneath the container for any extra liquid that might come from your mussels as they sit there.

It is suggested to cover the container with a cloth that allows air to go through it. Also, there is no need to add any water or liquid if you store the mussels in this way.

The ideal temperature to store your mussels in the fridge is between  39 °F (4 °C) and 46 °F (8 °C). Just drain the liquid that comes from the mussels daily. You can store them like this for up to 3-4 days safely.

Freeze Them!

Before you freeze your mussels, you want to debeard them and discard any dead mussels you find. Put them in a freezing safe bag or in a freezing safe container. Get the air out of the bag as well as you can and place your mussels in the freezer.

Make sure to write the date on the bag or the container so you know where you put them in the freezer.

If you keep a constant temperature of 0 degrees F or -18 degrees C, your mussels should stay safe for up to 3 months in the freezer. If you use mussels that were frozen for over 3 months, they can become mushy.

When you defrost your mussels, cook them within two days so they don’t have time to go bad.

Storing Cooked Mussels

When storing cooked mussels in the fridge make sure you put them in a sealed container or a zipper-top bag. You can refrigerate them along with the broth that they were cooked in. Cooked mussels can be stored in the fridge for up to four days.

When freezing cooked mussels, cover them with enough broth from the cooking process. Also, store them in a sealed container. You can store mussels like that for up to four months as long as you maintain a constant temperature.

Always check your mussels before eating them to make sure they don’t have a bad odor or a sticky texture and they are still good. If your mussels, fresh or cooked, develop such unpleasant features, don’t consume them.

Final Words

Both green mussels and black mussels can be a delicious choices for a nutritious meal.

Once you give them both a try, you will know which ones you prefer best. Make sure to follow the information in this guide when it comes to cooking and storing your mussels correctly so you can make the best out of them.

Choosing your mussels right is important as spoiled ones are not safe for consumption. You can count on the freshness of your mussels as long as you store them correctly and cook them the right way.

Since green mussels and black ones can be used interchangeably, your personal preferences will be what matters most when you choose one of them.

Consider the difference in size but also the slight difference in taste before you make your decision and get creative when you season them as such a dish can be very versatile.

Overall, mussels will become your favorite as soon as you give them a try! 

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