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There are two types of mussels. Blue mussels are edible and is what you generally find at seafood markets and restaurants. Ribbed Mussels are not recommended for eating; their taste is somewhat bitter for most people.
in fact there are three types of mussels common to north american diners. the Blue mussel, baltic mussel and the Mediterranean. and are freely switched in the markets due to opposing breeding periods when they are less desireable. The New Zealand green mussel is also popular but not as common a sight to north american diners
I harvested ribbed mussels in Shinnecock Bay before hearing from a local commercial fisherman that they are not edible and are considered "bait" (isn't just about everything in the sea bait for some other creature?). I cooked them in a paella and everyone enjoyed them.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|