• Jennifer Depew

Mussels, delicious, and sustainable.

Updated: Dec 24, 2018

After learning more about the trophic levels of the food chain and farmed aquaculture it is clear that farmed Mussels need to be on more menus. They appear easy to manage for the farmer of the sea as they survive on phytoplankton and algae.


Dangling ropes from a frame at the surface of the ocean allows clusters of mussel shellfish to grow on the rope. The rope can be easily raised from the ocean by the farmer to check on growth or harvest the full-sized mussels. The small shellfish species help protect the ocean by cleaning up the excess nutrients from agricultural runoff which can otherwise lead to algal blooms. Algal blooms that have insufficient shrimp, mussels, or other species in the area to consume the extra growth, may add toxins to the water depending on the species of alga, and when the excess nutrients from fertilizer runoff are used up the algal bloom dies in large quantities, and bacteria decompose the algal remains using up oxygen in the water until that also runs out, leading to oxygen dead zones.

Mussel Gumbo - an adaptation of this recipe: Mussel Gumbo/Alyson Gofton.

2 large onions, diced

2 Tablespoons Coconut or Olive Oil

4 stalks celery, diced

1 green pepper, diced2 cups okra sliced

½ tsp each ground white and black pepper pinch of ground cayenne

2x 400 gram/14 oz cans diced tomatoes in juice

1 litre/quart water or fish or chicken stock

2 Bay Leaves

1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

1 teaspoon Gumbo File

500 grams- 1 kilogram/1-2 pounds cooked mussel meat

¼ cup chopped fresh basil and thyme or 1 tablespoon each dried

  • In a large sauce pan, saute the diced onion, celery and okra in the coconut or olive oil until limp, onions caramelized slightly, about 8-10 minutes.

  • Add the water or stock, tomatoes, Bay Leaves, and other spices and dried herbs if fresh are not available, bring to a simmer and heat for 15 minutes.

  • Add the roughly chopped cooked mussel meat, the fresh herbs, and the Gumbo File powder and bring to a simmer, serve once the mussels are hot.

How to cook mussels - they are steamed for 5-7 minutes in a covered pan with some water and possibly garlic or other seasonings, see: How to Cook Mussels, (peimussel).

  • If fresh mussels are not available, buy mussels in brine, drain well, presoak in fresh water for 15 minutes and drain again before chopping.

Mussels cooked in the shell, in an open saute pan.

Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

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