How Long Do Mussels Last After Harvesting?

Recently, mussels have become known as a sustainable, time-efficient, and inexpensive seafood dish to prepare for the whole family. Often mistaken for fish, freshwater and seawater mussels belong to the bivalve mollusc family. However, in direct contrast to other seafood, mussels are cooked while still alive, meaning it is critical to know precisely how long they last after harvesting.

Mussels last one to two days after harvesting. After two days, they immediately become a hotbed for destructive bacteria. The way the mussels are stored will dramatically influence their shelf life. If exposed to room temperature, mussels have less than two hours before they are inedible. 

Unlike meat, it is vital to keep the mussel cool immediately after being harvested. As many people have discovered, through crippling food poisoning, mussels cannot be exposed to rising temperatures. Do you ever ponder how to keep a mussel for later consumption safely? 

How To Store Mussels For Them To Last

Once the mussels are harvested, they must be placed into a container that keeps them cool. If the temperature of the living mussel is allowed to rise, harmful bacteria will render it inedible.

As mussels are cooked when they are still alive, it is important never to store them in water. Instead, the mussel should be gently placed within an open container. The air-exposed container should then be positioned inside a refrigerator with a damp paper cloth covering the top, which is an effective way to maintain appropriate humidity levels.  

In general, mussels can last between one and two days after harvesting if stored correctly. Moreover, mussels must be kept alive before the cooking can commence, increasing the importance of appropriate storage conditions.

However, most mussels cannot endure room temperature for more than a few hours. Room temperature is usually accepted as being close to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Similarly, harmful bacteria growth found inside harvested mussels begins to develop when they are exposed to temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and higher.

Interestingly, mussels placed inside a freezer bag and then frozen have a shelf life of more than two months if the temperature never rises past 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the mouth-watering mussels are successfully prepared, they can be safely stored in a fridge for four days.

How To Harvest Mussels To Make Them Last Longer

Mussels are primarily grown in farms located amongst pristinely clean shallow bays, freshwater lagoons, and other significant water inlets.

In various weather conditions, mussels can be harvested at any time of the year. However, the eventual weight of the shellfish will differ depending on the season they were harvested. Infant mussels are grown in mesh sleeves attached to a dedicated buoy rope, initiating the farming process.

Despite mussels occurring naturally in international waters, these water columns protect them from natural predators while providing the mussel with endless nutrients. The abundance of nutrients combined with the lack of predators enables the mussel harvesters to produce bulky and desirable meat for consumers continuously.

The most expensive mussels grow up to two and a half inches, although it takes nearly 20 months to reach that extraordinary size. While significant time, dedication, and financial resources are required for mussels to grow to unnatural body lengths, the incredible consumer demand has made many global harvesters astonishingly wealthy.


Processing Living Mussels To Preserve Freshness

After the complicated and lengthy harvesting process, the mussels are taken to a federally registered processing facility.

Upon arrival, the mussels are closely inspected for diseases or deformities before being removed from the mesh sleeve to get washed, de-clumped, and separated into different grades. The higher the obtained quality, the more the mussel can fetch on the consumer market.

The processing procedure is a specific and crucial step since mussels that are found to have substandard or broken shells are immediately removed before the latest batch is shipped off to domestic and foreign markets. 

Is It Dangerous To Consume Dead Mussels?

Mussels can be consumed in many ways, with the majority preferring to steam, boil, fry, or even eat raw shellfish. However, mussels must be alive before cooking and eating them.

Despite mussels being sustainable, abundant, and rich in essential oils such as vitamin B-12, shellfish can also be a slice of dangerous meat to consume. To ensure that the mussel is alive, it should not have cracks or chips along with its shell.

Moreover, edible mussels’ shells will open during the cooking process. Occasionally, the mussels’ body does not open when prepared, rendering the shellfish dead and unfit for human consumption.

Dead mussels can poison humans as they quickly pick up harmful bacteria and viruses. As the mussel dies, the quality of its meat substantially decreases, which directly heightens the likelihood of severe food poisoning, microorganism contamination, and acute infectious diseases.

The Appropriate Way To Store Mussels For A Day Or More

It is important to note that mussels cannot, under any circumstances, be safely stored for more than two to three days. 

However, if they are correctly stored, mussels’ shelf life can be preserved for a short period.

Maintaining an effective environment for the mussels is tricky as they must remain alive until consumption, require sufficient moisture, and need enough space to breathe. 

Furthermore, you cannot allow the mussel to be in too much water as this will spoil your upcoming meal.

The most suitable way to safely store fresh mussels is by ensuring that the shellfish is still alive, which is achieved by tapping on its shell. Once the mussel is in your kitchen, take it out of the bag and let it breathe for a few minutes. 

Many people use colanders, allowing the water to drain completely from their closed shells. To correctly store mussels, they should be placed in a refrigerator inside an open-air container.

The final step is to put the bowl and the colander into the fridge while ensuring the temperature is well above freezing. Once the temperature is in the correct place, a damp paper towel should be delicately placed over the mussels, guaranteeing that the shellfish will remain alive until the cooking commences.

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In conclusion, mussels can last between one and three days after being harvested, depending on how the consumer stores them. Mussels are unlike any other meat since they are far more complicated and riskier to store. Many people become seriously ill after unknowingly consuming dead mussels, which can only be exposed to room temperature for under two hours.

Mussels are primarily grown in farms located amongst pristinely clean shallow bays, freshwater lagoons, and other significant water inlets. The shellfish are then taken to a federally registered processing facility. To correctly store a mussel is tricky and increases the probability of it dying, which is why many people consume shellfish the same day, mitigating numerous health risks.