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January 04, 2012

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john

Ooh La Laaa Ms Glaze! Fantastic! Will you cook and eat these mussels? John

John

I guess I didn't read the whole story!

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This is really the great way you discuss this kind of topic. Good job.

Drago

Love love LOVE mussels. Cheap, delicious, and really quick to steam. Throw in a salad and a glass of wine and you have a perfect weeknight meal.

Kelly

Now I'm so hungry! Looks delicious.

Ms. Glaze

I forgot to mention that foraging for mussels requires a fishing license. I don't know if this is common knowledge or not, but I thought I should include it. The amount you can take is 10lbs. Which is quite a bit and will equal a good hour of cleaning work and a fantastic feast!

Also, Winter is a great time for shell fish. They are fat. Also (at least on the West Coast) the red tide is not acting up.

Fresh water mussels are considered unpalatable, and I've never had one so I can't really comment. These mussels are obviously Pacific. ocean. If foraging for mussels in your area, I suggest finding out first if they are edible and when the best time to gather is.

Helen

Thank you so much for this description of how to clean wild mussels! Would you deal with clams the same way? I always struggle with the grit. I heard of soaking them with corn meal. does that really work? or is it better to just cook them and then strain the liquor?

Ms. Glaze

Helen! I did some research into the cornmeal addition as a way to extract more sand, but I found that most people said it was a wives tale. I even called my fish purveyor and they didn't know the answer because they mostly deal with PEI mussels which are very clean. I say it can't hurt and whatever works! But it doesn't really make sense to me from a scientific standpoint. Have you tried this technique before?

I've never dug up clams, but intend to try that soon. From what little I know, I think the same method would be used and I always store them in a restaurant as I do mussels.

This is a new venture for me actually sourcing the food myself instead of relying on nice and tidy little fish packages to arrive!

wattacetti

Hiya Chef,

I've purged clams with changes of salt water over several hours, but haven't had the experience of mussel purging because we only have PEI moules which have essentially nothing inside (no beards either). I have attempted to eat a freshwater mussel and while it won't kill you the taste does indeed leave something to be desired.

Tourism PEI has actually posted that the cornmeal is to replace the stomach contents of the shellfish for those squeamish about having little dark bits. I guess it would work, but it won't do anything for sand and it won't be something that works over a couple of hours since digestive tract contents aren't something that exchange that quickly (it's a FIFO kind of thing).

The same bureau suggests soaking shellfish in changes of relatively large volumes of sea/salt water, which will of course give you plenty of time to get into your Anne Shirley outfit.

Link is here (the parts about cornmeal and purging sand, not Anne Shirley): http://www.tourismpei.com/index.php3?number=11967

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I learned so much stuff troughout this blog, thanks

Mark Congdon

It would behoove you to familiarize yourself with the Fish and Game regulations before gathering mussels, much less showing pictures of you and your companions so blatantly violating them. Mussels may be taken by hand or "hook and line" only. The crowbars and knife you and your buddy are using is very destructive to the intertidal environment. If a DFG warden came across you you would be hit with some heavy fines. You must have a fishing license to gather mussels, and if you obtain a fishing license, it comes with the responsibility of familiarizing yourself with the regulations.

Ms. Glaze

Mark, Thanks for your comment, I do have a fishing license and I state that up above. The limit is ten pounds and there is nothing that says I can't use a crowbar or knife on the fish and game website.

Ms. Glaze

Mark, I found the article you're talking about and it's not even on the fish and game website it's on a website called Green Notes. So how anyone is expected to know that is a mystery? And frankly I'm a little put off with your assumption that I don't play by the rules.

It appears that only recently the method of collecting mussels has changed to say that you are supposed to NOY use tools because they can take mussels off in a cluster.

Mark Congdon

Pg. 52 of the ocean regulations booklet.
Mollusks:
Section 29.10 General
(a)Except as otherwise provided in this article, saltwater mollusks, including octopus, may be taken only on hook and line or by the hands.

http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=36328&inline=true

If you don't believe me go ahead and ask a game warden.

Mark Congdon

By the way these have been the regulations for many, many years, as long as I remember. You still see people out there with rakes, crowbars, shovels etc, but it's destructive and illegal. Unfortunately the state is broke and the department is understaffed so it often goes unpenalized.

Ms. Glaze

Mark, I appreciate the clarifications, but once again not your tone. It's not clear on their website – like I said I had to find the info on another website. Even when you do a search on the fish and game site under mussels you cannot find the info.

And I don't know anyone who gets a regulations booklet with their fishing license, I've always had to look up info on regulations online. I get one just about every year and I've never been handed one.

Like I said, I appreciate the clarification, but not the tone. No one was smashing habitats with crowbars. In fact they are not actually easy to use.

Mark Congdon

I don't have a print booklet either. I am referencing the page from the regulations found online on the DFG's website. I buy my license online and much like all the anglers and foragers I know, when I choose to target a particular species, I know it is my responsibility to double check the regs to make sure that particular species is in season and that I am using the appropriate gear.
I am not sure what is particularly wrong with my tone. I don't know how many people read this blog, but when I saw the pictures of the crowbars and knives, I envisioned dozens of your readers descending onto the intertidal wielding big steel implements and I was a bit horrified. Perhaps that was an overreaction. I'm sure you are an ethical and conscientious person and it was an honest mistake. I just felt it was the responsible thing to speak up and prevent anyone from getting fined or needlessly inflicting harm on the intertidal environment.

Ms. Glaze

Mark, I made a note at the top of this post so readers can see they can't use crowbars or tools. This was the first time I had gathered mussels as I normally fish for trout or go crabbing. I did look up the rules online beforehand and the only thing I could find was that there was a 10 pound limit. My "friends" are actually very conscientious organic farmers. And I work/cook on a Homestead farm.

You are right to speak up...

Chris M.

Hey Mark Congdon stop posting wrong information retard.

(c) Special gear provisions: Spades, shovels, hoes, rakes or other appliances operated by
hand, except spears or gaff hooks, may be used to take Mussels.

As of 2012 from DFG Handbook. If you have your handbook READ IT and don't act like you did. I work for DFG and I get disappointed with people that give out wrong information.

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