Category: Shellfish

Shellfish

Can You Freeze Mussels?

Mussels are perhaps one of the most popular types of seafood you can find in any supermarket. Apart from being widely available, mussels are a popular appetizer or entrée. They just make any meal look tastier, more special!

Just like most kinds of shellfish, mussels are best eaten immediately. But can you freeze mussels? In case you got too many mussels in your hand, you can freeze fresh and cooked mussels. That said, most chefs and seafood experts say that freezing seafood is not the best way to store the shellfish. The fact is, mussels should be kept for no more than a day. The risk of flavor or texture changes is high if shellfish is stored in the freezer for a long time.

Image used under Creative Commons from Charles Haynes

The key to preventing flavor or texture change is to prep the mussels properly. For one thing, you need to protect live or cooked shellfish from contamination. This goes especially for live mussels. Contamination could lead to bacterial growth. Eating contaminated mussels will lead to an excruciating trip to the ER.

When kept in the fridge, fresh mussels will keep for 2 to 3 days. But when kept in the freezer, frozen fresh mussels could keep for 4 months or so. We recommend consuming the mussels quickly for optimal flavor. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze mussels:

How to Freeze Mussels?

If say, you are freezing live or fresh mussels, you have to clean the shellfish first under running water. Start by sorting out dead mussels from the mix. Remove those with broken shells or mussels that are unnaturally light. Live muscles often close their shell tightly when touched.

Get a bowl of clean water and place the shellfish inside. Using a steel brush, scrub the grits off the shells. Then with a knife or scissors, cut the tough fibers that mussels use to attach themselves to rocks. Do note that de-bearing the mussels will kill them so once prep is done, you need to freeze them immediately.

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Drain the muscles and rinse again under running water. Once the mussels are clean, you’re ready to pack them for freezing. Use a resealable, heavy-duty plastic bag to store the shellfish for freezing. Just place the shellfish inside, squeeze out as much air as you could then write the storage date. Stick in the freezer and you’re done. Do note that freezing live mussels will kill the shellfish.

If say, you’d like to cook the mussels first prior to freezing, prep the shellfish by cleaning them. Refer to the first few instruction on how to clean the muscles above. Once the mussels are clean, pour them in a large pot and boil for 3 minutes. Stir the mussels occasionally as they cook. The mussels should open their shells, discard those that did not open their shell after boiling.

After boiling the mussels, drain the water (keep the broth for cooking!) and leave the shellfish to cool at room temperature. Once cooled, you have to remove the shells one by one. When the mussels are de-shelled, get a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid or a resealable plastic bag and place the mussels inside. Label the bag with the storage date and stick in the freezer.

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How to Defrost Frozen Mussels?

To thaw frozen mussels, simply transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the mussels to thaw overnight. It’s important to let the seafood thaw slowly to reduce flavor or texture changes. Defrosted mussels could keep fresh in the fridge within 2 days so cook them immediately and never re-freeze. Thawed (live) mussels should have a distinct oceanic smell. If the mussels smell funky, it’s a sign that they’ve gone bad. Once the mussels have been defrosted completely, you can use it for cooking.

Summary

Mussels are such versatile seafood and freezing them for long-term storage ensures that you’ll always have this popular shellfish ready. Now that you know how can you freeze mussels properly, go ahead and store your leftovers for future uses.

Shellfish

Can You Freeze Oysters

Have you ever thought about freezing oysters? Does it work and if so, what’s the correct method? If those are the questions that bother you, read on.

You may know of oysters being an aphrodisiac and one of the healthiest sources of protein to eat consisting of essential nutrients of vitamins A and B12, zinc, iron, calcium and selenium. What you might not know, is you can actually freeze them to help preserve their freshness. This is handy if you are an oyster lover and love eating them often because freezing allows you to purchase oysters in bulk from a fish market when they are on sale so you have the ability to enjoy them whenever you desire to have some for a satisfying meal.

What is the proper method for freezing oysters?

If you have purchased or harvested a large portion of oysters for freezing, it is important you go through each one and make sure they are alive. Dead oysters are dangerous to eat due to the harmful bacteria they contain. You can tell the difference between live oysters, and dead kinds. Alive oysters will remain tightly closed and dead ones will have their shells wide open. Once you have gone through all the oysters and picked out all the dead ones, it is important to wash the healthy oysters in cool water to remove any debris and bacteria. Then, you can place them into a sealable bag with vegetable broth or cool water and freeze them in the freezer until you are ready to use them. Oysters should only remain frozen for up to 3-months this way. After that, they should be tossed out to prevent possible food poisoning. If you notice, any frostbite on the oysters when you do go to use them it is best to discard them as well.

Steamed Oysters

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Will freezing change the texture and flavor of the oysters?

Freezing will change the texture and flavor of the oysters. Oysters will have a slightly fishy flavor, a slightly changed color and the texture of them can be a bit mushy making them better for creating delicious stews, casserole dishes, soups or chowders. Trying to steam the oysters in a broth and serving them up that way might not be as appetizing as freshly steamed oysters. You should never consume defrosted raw oyster since the bacteria in them can cause illness. The only time it is ever safe to eat a raw oyster is when it is alive and freshly harvested.

What is the proper way to defrost oysters?

The proper way to defrost oysters is to take them straight from the freeze into a steamer or pot of boiling broth to be cooked straight away. Never leave frozen oysters to defrost in the refrigerator, sink or countertop because bacteria will grow on them and no longer be good to eat.

End Notes to Keep in Mind

Freezing oysters can help prevent wasting of food, but remember that frozen oysters are only good for stews, casserole dishes and soups due to the mushy texture they will have. If you desire to have fresh tasting oysters full of true oyster flavor with a pleasant texture and smell it is best to go to a seafood restaurant or fish market, get them fresh and eat them right away instead of trying to store them.