How Do You Clean Mussels?

clean-mussels Credit: Cultura RM/Philip Lee Harvey/Collection Mix: Subjects/Getty Images

To clean mussels, soak and then drain the mussels. Scrub the mussels under cold running water, and remove the beards. Throw away the mussel if it is dead, is filled with mud or has a hole or cracked shell.

  1. Soak the mussels

    Soak the mussels in a bowl of cold water for about 20 minutes to get out the grit. This step is necessary with wild mussels more so than with cultivated mussels, as cultivated mussels are less likely to have sand and grit than wild mussels.

  2. Scrub the mussels

    Scrub the mussels under running water. Make sure the water is very cold.

  3. Debeard the mussels

    The beard is the bristly material sticking out from one side. To remove the beard, pull down toward the hinge of the shell and then outward. Use a towel for leverage.

  4. Throw away bad mussels

    Throw away any mussels if they are dead, filled with mud or have a shell that is cracked or has a hole in it. If the mussel shell is slightly open, tap it with a knife to see if it closes. If the shell does not close, the mussel is dead. If the mussel feels really heavy for its size, it is likely filled with mud.