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Mussels have been farmed for centuries in Europe and for decades in Eastern Canada, but have only recently been cultured here on the West Coast. Compared to the better-known PEI mussel, West Coast Mussels are sweeter and more flavourful, and usually larger. (The flavour of PEI mussels is milder.)
The most common way to cook mussels is to steam them. They can also be baked, stir-fried, or cooked in soup or sauce. Mussels and clams can be cooked together. For a main dish of steamed mussels, allow 1 to 1 ½ lbs per person. With pasta or rice, 1 lb is enough. For a side dish or starter, allow ½ lb per person.
Store mussels in the fridge until you are ready to cook them. If you aren’t cooking them the day you buy them, take them out of the bag, put them in a shallow bowl, and cover them with a damp cloth. Kept cold and damp, mussels will live in your fridge for 2 or 3 days. You can scrub your mussels if you like, but we find that a thorough rinse with cold water usually gets them clean enough. De-bearding mussels weaken them, so wait until you are rinsing them to pull off the beards.