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Cleaning mussels

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My very lovely mussels have small white-ish dots on the shells and with a ton of effort (scraping with my finger nail) they come off. I am cleaning 4lbs do I need to do this? Dinner guests coming soon!!!

asked by Mlc1977 12 months ago
3 answers 720 views
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amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added 12 months ago

I can't tell from the photo's scale, but looks like they could just be small bits of barnacle - hard and raised slightly from the shells? I wouldn't worry about scraping them off. Just give the shells a good scrub to remove sand, dirt and if there are any "beards", pull those off just before cooking.

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added 12 months ago

Those are likely tiny barnacles and no, you don't need to remove them. As long as they’ve been purged (for sand) and de-bearded they’re good to go. Just remember to discard any that didn’t open while steaming. Also, this is handy! https://food52.com/blog...

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added 12 months ago

Amy and Jacque are right, those are barnacles or limpets, nothing to worry about.

Here's SeriousEats' Kenji's longish article about mussels:


I buy farm-raised mussels and I don't do any prep work before cooking apart from a quick spray of water over the colander.