How Much Meat Is In A Mussel?

Mussels are delicious and versatile seafood. However, when cooking mussels in their shells, it can be hard to determine a portion size for each diner. As the shell makes up a big part of the mussel, you may wonder how much meat is in a mussel?

The amount of meat in a mussel depends on its size and variety. The meat in a blue shell mussel accounts for about 20-25% of the total weight of the mussel. Green shell mussels have more meat, and the meat makes up about 45-50% of the total weight. One pound of mussels has about one cup of meat.

Mussels are generally inexpensive and easy to prepare. However, knowing how much meat is in a mussel is crucial to determining how many mussels you need per person. We will discuss how many mussels to serve per portion and the health benefits of mussels.

How Much Meat Is In A Mussel?

Mussels are delicious seafood and easy enough to prepare for a group of people. However, knowing how many mussels to serve each person is somewhat challenging, considering that a big part of the uncooked mussel resides in its shell. How much meat is in mussels, and how many mussels do you need per person?

One pound of mussels contains about 20 to 25 mussels, depending on their size. For example, if you have blue shell mussels, one pound of mussels will give you approximately one cup of mussel meat. When cooked, the meat in a blue shell mussel is roughly 20-25% of the total mussel weight.

Green shell mussels come from New Zeeland, and their meat is slightly bigger. Therefore, the meat can make up about 45-50% of the total mussel weight.

Regardless of the type of mussels used, we recommend that you prepare one pound of mussels per person if you are serving the mussels as a main. For an appetizer, you can prepare ½ a pound of mussels per person.

Store-bought mussels are often more or less the same size. However, if you harvest mussels from rocks, you’ll notice a wide range of sizes. So which mussels should you harvest?

Of course, you’ll immediately want to get the biggest mussels you can find. They have the most meat inside and will make a great dish. However, the biggest mussels are the oldest. As the mussels age, the texture of their flesh changes, and they can sometimes taste bland and mealy when cooked. This makes them very unappetizing to eat.

We suggest that you harvest the medium-sized mussels. They are about 1.5 to 2 years old. These mussels have a good amount of meat, and the meat is juicy, tender, and full of flavor. When harvesting wild mussels, you must also gather about 20 to 25 mussels per person.

This will ensure that every person gets around one cup of mussel meat. In addition, there are various delicious ways to prepare mussels, as you can find here.

What Is The Nutritional Value Of Mussels?

Because mussels are so inexpensive and readily available, you might wonder what their nutritional value is. You may be surprised to learn that mussels are incredibly high in nutritional value. A mussel contains more protein than most other fish. Three ounces of mussels contains up to 40% of an adult’s recommended daily protein intake.

Mussels are also extremely high in iron and vitamin B12. These elements help prevent and treat anemia and help your heart function properly. In addition, mussels are low in calories and are an excellent option for people who want to lose weight.

Mussels also contain Omega-3 acids and various other micro-nutrients and minerals. Therefore, a seafood dish with mussels is a healthy and delicious option. Here is a breakdown of a mussel’s nutritional value. These values are based on a 3-ounce serving of steamed mussel meat, about the amount of meat you would get from one pound of mussels.

Calories146
Protein20 grams
Fat4 grams
Carbohydrates6 grams
Fiber0 grams
Sugar0 grams

As you can see, mussels are reasonably high in nutritional value, making them a delicious and cost-effective dish. You can easily steam a bunch of mussels, shell them, and add them to a soup or stew.

Are There Any Dangers Of Eating Mussels?

Although mussels seem to be reasonably healthy seafood, some people worry about the potential health problems of mussels. Mussels filter pollutants and toxins from the ocean. Therefore, some people are concerned that mussels contain too many toxins for human consumption.

However, mussels are exceptionally well at cleaning out toxins without being contaminated. For example, mussels can remove bacteria, such as E-coli from the water and still be safe for people to eat. A bigger concern is mercury exposure from eating mussels.

Mussels can contract mercury from the ocean, and too much mercury can lead to mercury poisoning and other health concerns. However, mussels aren’t dangerously high in mercury. To reduce the mercury you ingest through mussels, we recommend buying deep ocean cultivated mussels. These mussels are exposed to fewer pollutants than mussels growing closer to shore.

Another potential risk of consuming mussels is shellfish poisoning. In the most severe cases, eating contaminated shellfish can cause gastrointestinal distress, muscle paralysis, and death. However, the chances of contracting shellfish poisoning from cultivated mussels are far less than from wild mussels.

Therefore, if you are concerned about shellfish poisoning, we recommend buying cultivated mussels or contacting your local fish and game agency to ask if there are any health alerts regarding shellfish.

Mussels don’t pose a considerable health risk for people in general. However, pregnant women, the elderly, and people struggling with health problems like diabetes should exercise precautions when consuming mussels.

Some people also have shellfish allergies and should completely avoid eating mussels. Furthermore, we don’t recommend eating raw mussels, as the risk of contracting shellfish poisoning or another disease is higher.

However, suppose the mussels are cooked correctly. In that case, you can safely consume up to 12 ounces of mussel meat per week without increasing the risk of getting ill. This means you can eat up to four portions of mussel meat per week.

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Conclusion

Depending on the mussel variation, a mussel’s meat can make up 20-50% of the cooked, total mussel weight. One pound of mussels is roughly 20 mussels and will contain about one cup of mussel meat. They recommended serving of mussels is one pound per person for a main or ½ a pound of mussels for an appetizer.

Mussels are incredibly high in protein and other minerals, such as iron. Therefore, you can safely consume up to four portions of mussels per week. However, pregnant women should take special precautions to avoid contracting shellfish poisoning from eating too many mussels.  

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