Can you freeze live mussels?

Trackback |      [pinit]


Yes, you can freeze live mussels for up to three months (although they won’t be alive after freezing).  Frozen mussels should be used within 2 days of thawing.

How to Freeze Live Mussels:

1. Test the mussels for signs of life: First discard any that are cracked or more than slightly open.  Then tap any open mussels firmly…if they do not slowly close, they’re dead and should be discarded.  Finally, hold each closed mussel in your hand separately.  If any feel significantly heavier than the others, they are probably filled with mud and should also be discarded.

2. Clean the mussels: Scrub the surface of the mussels with a tough wire brush.  If they’re still attached, pull off their “beards” (clear tendrils on the outside of the mussel).

3. Steam the mussels: (how to steam shellfish). Discard any mussels that do not open during the steaming process.

4. Remove the mussels’ meat from their shells.

5. Freeze the mussel meat: Either in a bag in the steaming broth or laid out on a sheet pan in your freezer: You can also just throw them in an air-tight container if you don’t mind your mussels freezing into a clump, but freezing individually can also reduce their freezing time, leading to a better texture/flavor later (read How to Freeze Better at Home for more info).

If you’re worried about the mussels sticking to the pan, put a sheet of wax paper between them and the metal.

4. Once the mussels have frozen, place them in a freezer bag for storage.  Make sure to get as much air out as possible, and clearly label them with the date frozen.

How to Thaw Frozen Mussels:

At any point in three months you can easily thaw your mussels by moving them to the fridge from your freezer (if you’ve frozen them individually, they’ll be easier to thaw a few at a time) and letting them thaw slowly.  If you’re in a hurry, you can use the running water thawing method, but because shellfish are so perishable, we recommend the fridge if you have the time.  Use your thawed mussels within two days.

Related Posts:
Mussels Mariniere Recipe (aka Moules Mariniere)

Question submitted by David

Post your comment here:

6 Responses to “Can you freeze live mussels?”

  1. 1
    Mario says:

    I have just been given black mussels fresh of the boat from the farm that are picked tuesdays and sundays i got mine tuesday night, what i would like to know is can i freeze the mussels in there shells .
    Thank you

  2. 2
    Matthew says:

    Hi Mario,

    We’ve answered that question here. I hope it helps!


  3. 3
    Ann says:

    What happened when you thawed the mussels and they are slightly opened?

  4. 4
    Matthew says:

    Hi Ann,

    Generally we recommend freezing mussels out of their shells. We don’t have any experience freezing them in their shells, but my guess is that the slight opening is merely a side effect of the mussels dying during the freezing process.

    Marx Foods

  5. 5
    Ann says:

    Thanks Matthew. Are they still ok to be cooked and eaten?

  6. 6
    Matthew says:

    Again, we don’t really have experience with in-shell frozen mussels, so I can’t say for certain. I would think so, assuming they were well cared for before freezing.

    Marx Foods