Few marine ingredients are as versatile as the blue mussel. Offering something for most palates, Norwegian mussels can be eaten with a clear conscience.
Familiar and unassuming
Go swimming anywhere along the coast of Norway and you may see a few clusters of small rock-like molluscs. If you even notice them at all, that is. The blue mussel is so widespread in Norwegian waters that most recreational swimmers probably don’t pay them any attention.
But ordinariness isn’t synonymous with insignificance. In fact, many inhabitants along the coast enjoy the rich versatility of the blue mussels. Gathering enough blue mussels for a savoury meal can be done in no time. Search anywhere from the surface to a depth of 10 metres, and you’ll find heaps of them attached to stones, rocks or ropes by their beard-like byssus threads.
Toughing it out
Perhaps not considered the most lucrative catch in Norwegian seas, these small molluscs should not be underestimated. It takes a certain kind of toughness to survive the hardships of the cold and harsh waters of the north. Their natural prevalence is mostly regulated by biological factors, such as competition and predation by crabs, snails or starfish. If left to their own devices, blue mussels can reproduce up to a density of several thousand mussels per square metre!
This is due to the blue mussel’s high tolerance for extreme environmental conditions. For instance, although they’re normally found in shallow waters along the coast, the have been known to survive at considerable depths. Even without optimal temperature and salinity, the blue mussels will not only tough it out, but thrive. Blue mussels can even withstand being above water during low tide. For this reason, the species can be found all the way from the coast of Northern Spain to the northern waters outside Norway and Russia. The mussels have even been found as far north as Svalbard!
At its best during Autumn and Winter. Follow the official advice of Norwegian authorities on blue mussels.
All along the Norwegian coast line.
Blue mussels are rich in
– Vitamin B12