Ask Evan: Can I Freeze Mussels?

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Every Tuesday I answer a question from a Good Food listener. You can email me a question, leave one on Facebook or add one in the comments section here. This week’s question comes from Nancy:

How do you/can you? freeze live mussels in the shell? There is a lot of conflicting advice.

I’m sure this answer is too late for you this time so I’m hoping you share what you eventually decided to do.  From all I managed to read on the subject freezing live mussels in the shell is not highly recommended.  It is possible to do but the shelf life is rather limited (approximately 3 months).  A better choice would be to steam or boil the mussels to open them.  Boiling in brine keeps the meat from shrinking.  Remove the meat from the shells then place on a cookie sheet so they don’t touch and freeze them.  You can then take the frozen meat off the sheet pan and put it in a vacuum pack and back in the freezer.  Or you can can the mussels in a pressure cooker with brine.  The most complete discussion of preserving the mussel harvest I found is from the Food and Agriculture Organization here.