If you’ve ever cooked mussels, you know that they can sometimes be a bit hit or miss. Sometimes they’re cooked perfectly, and other times they’re not so great. But how can you tell if mussels are bad after cooking?
Here are some surefire signs that your mussels were not so great:
1. They smell bad. This one is pretty obvious. If your cooked mussels smell bad, they probably are bad.
2. They’re chewy. Mussels should be tender and succulent, not tough and chewy. If yours are chewy, it’s a sign that they were overcooked.
3. They don’t taste good. This is a pretty subjective sign, but if the mussels don’t taste good to you, then they’re probably not great.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s probably best to throw out the mussels and start over. But if all else fails
Smell the mussels before cooking them
Bad mussels will have a very noticeable, pungent odor. Good mussels should smell like the sea. If they don’t, then they are not fresh and you should not cook them.
If they smell bad, don’t cook them
mussels should have a fresh, sea air smell. If they have a bad odor, don’t cook them.
It is not uncommon for mussels to contain sand or grit. To clean them, just place them in a bowl of cold water and let them sit for about 20 minutes. The dirt and sand will fall to the bottom of the bowl.
To cook mussels, steam them in a pot with a little bit of water and white wine. Don’t overcook them – they’re done when they open up. Once they’re cooked, remove them from the pot and discard any that haven’t opened.
If they smell good, cook them
You can tell if mussels are bad after cooking by their smell. Bad mussels will smell fishy or like ammonia. If they just smell a little off, you can give them a taste before you serve them. But if they really smell bad, it’s best to throw them out.
Once they’re cooked, smell them again
Take a quick sniff before you start cooking to make sure they don’t smell overly fishy, and give them another sniff once they’re done. If they still smell good, they’re fine to eat. However, if they smell bad after cooking, it’s best to throw them out.
If they smell bad, don’t eat them
If you’re not sure if the mussels are still good to eat after you’ve cooked them, the best way to tell is by smell. Bad mussels will give off a nauseatingly fishy smell, so if your cooked mussels smell bad, it’s best to discard them. Another way to tell if mussels are bad after cooking is by texture; if they’re rubbery or slimy, they’ve gone bad and should be thrown out. If your cooked mussels don’t smell bad and have a firm, bouncy texture, they’re still good to eat!
If they smell good, enjoy!
If you can’t tell if your mussels are fresh or not, here’s a simple test to tell if they’re still good to eat. Take a small sharp knife and insert it into the meat of the mussel. If the meat is still tightly attached to the shell, it’s still alive and good to eat. If the meat slides out easily or has a noticeable gap between it and the shell, it’s starting to go bad and you should discard it.
You can also tell if mussels are good by their appearance. Fresh mussels will be plump and have tightly closed shells. Bad mussels will be shriveled with gaped shells. Gaped shells can also indicate that the mussel was dead when you bought it, so check for that before cooking as well.
As for cooked mussels, they should smell fresh and like the ocean. If they smell fishy or off in any way, don’t eat them.