Green Mussels vs. Black Mussels: What’s the Difference

Green and black mussels have a mild sweet flavor and a mushroom-like aftertaste, making them ideal for use in all types of cuisine. It’s great to have these two shades in your dish. 

Furthermore, they go well together and will undoubtedly enhance the taste of whatever you’re cooking. Is there a difference between these two?

Green mussels vs. Black mussels: What’s the difference?

The color of green and black mussels is the most significant distinction. Green mussels have grey and green-tinged shells, while black mussels have dark and black shells.

Furthermore, they vary in size. Green mussels might grow up to two times the size of black mussels. As a result, while black mussels may reach 2.5 inches in length, green mussels can reach 6 inches in length.

Green and black mussels are widely available all over the world. In the United States, black mussels would be the most frequent variety you can get at supermarkets. Green mussels follow behind. 

Black mussels like cold seas so they are more abundant on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. 

Green mussels, on the other hand, are more expensive and harder to come by depending on where you live. They are native to South America, North America, and New Zealand’s coastlines. Green mussels may be more costly in other places because of the limited availability.

Black and green mussels also differ in texture. Black mussels are delicate and mild to eat, while green mussels have a slightly chewy texture after being cooked.

What are mussels?

Mussels are a type of mollusk with a split shell similar to oysters, scallops, and clams. Mussels are found in both saltwater and freshwater, so they’re quite easy to come by. Mussels are high in protein, minerals, vitamins, and micronutrients.

They’re also a great source of iron, which is essential for many functions in the body. They are high in vitamin B12 and help to promote the formation of red blood cells and preserve nerve cells healthy.

Do green mussels taste like black mussels?

Yes, they are. Green mussels taste very similar to black mussels. Black mussels, on the other hand, can be sweeter and more flavorful than green mussels.

Are green and black mussels safe to eat?

Yes. mussels are actually safe to eat except if there is a red tide. This occurs when toxic substances cause seawater to become discolored during periodic algal blooms. Keep in mind to double-check the seafood vendor’s origin and ensure that there are no red tide occurrences when you buy.

Are black and green mussels healthy to eat?

Yes. In fact, mussels are high in zinc and selenium, which are required for healthy muscles, bones, nerves, cartilage and skin.

How do you choose green and black mussels?

The fresher the mussels, the better and safer your dish will taste. Mussels should be glossy and wet. Seafood has a characteristic scent, but they shouldn’t reek of the sea like they are rotten or spoilt.

When you tap them, it should be shut or sealed. Any open shells that don’t seal should be discarded.

If you buy cultivated mussels, the beards will be missing. However, wild mussels will have beards growing from them. Remove them as soon as possible before cooking. The beard is made of byssus. It is what mussels use to connect to surfaces and it secretes an adhesive that helps it do so.

Can you substitute green mussels for black mussels in recipes?

Yes, you may use black mussels and green mussels interchangeably.

Why are my mussels slimy?

Slimy mussels are a sign that mollusks were caught a long time ago. To avoid this, purchase live mussels from an open market if possible.

When should you use green and black mussels?

Green and black mussels are great to have on hand at all times. They’re also good alternatives for oysters and clams in recipes. Mussels, on the other hand, can only be eaten cooked. 

While oysters and clams may be consumed raw, mussels are generally cooked before consumption. That being said, some restaurants serve raw mussels by dipping them in a vinegar solution.

Can you store green and black mussels in the freezer?

Yes, mussels may be kept in the freezer for up to two days. It is, however, always preferable and safe to eat mussels immediately after purchasing and cooking them.

Melissa is a food enthusiast and one of the founders of Kitchen Study - a food blog about the vegan lifestyle, meal delivery services and cooking guides. She writes about delicious vegan dishes from all over the world. From quick and easy weekday lunches to perfect Sunday dinner recipes, we have it all covered!