Blue mussels are found at a depth of 0 to 10 metres, often forming mussel banks on the shoreline in the intertidal zone (the area above the water at low tide and under the water at high tide). In Norway they are often harvested for recreational use. The season is all year around, but they are at their best in autumn and winter.
Blue mussels usually spawn between April and June, when the water temperature is 8-10 degrees. The fertile eggs become larvae that swim freely for about a month until they attach themselves to stones, boats and mooring lines with strong filaments called byssus. Blue mussels live up to 20 years or longer.
In blue mussel farming, spawning mussels are collected from wild populations. The mussels are cultivated using suspended long lines in seawater – ropes are suspended in the sea in locations with a good current, and the mussels attach themselves to the ropes as they drift by in the water. This method of cultivation gives several qualitative advantages. As the mussels are suspended freely in seawater, they do not accumulate deposits of sand and mud – neither inside nor outside the shell. The low winter temperatures make the shells robust, enabling them to withstand exposure to cold and ice. They also get a fresh sea aroma and whole shells. Even if the shells open when they are taken from the sea, they will soon close again if you tap or gently squeeze them.
All commercial blue mussels must be approved by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. The mussels and the water quality are checked thoroughly before they are shipped to market, and they arrive at the packing facility within hours after being taken from the sea. Consequently, you can be confident that Norwegian blue mussels in the shops have the highest quality and are safe for human consumption.
Sold in packages of 1 kilo.
Blue mussels live by filtering phytoplankton that float by in the seawater, thereby contributing to cleaner and clearer seawater.
Blue mussels are especially rich in:
- Protein that builds and maintains every cell in the body.
- Vitamin B12, which is important for the body to produce new cells, including red blood cells. Vitamin B12 can contribute to preventing anaemia.
- Selenium, an important element in an enzyme that fights harmful chemical processes in the body.
More nutritional data can be found at www.nifes.no/en/prosjekt/seafood-data