Farmed mussels and oysters

(M) #1

I really can’t find any wild caught… my instincts are always to go for wild caught with anything. Are farmed mussels and oysters a weird man made thing in your opinion or no different really than from what would be in the ocean naturally? From what I’ve read, unlike farmed fish they aren’t fed anything so they should be pretty similar to the wild version correct? Im not crazy about oysters so I am trying the mussels. I would like to get b12 and iron up without mercury. (crab high in b12, but high in mercury) The trade off with less mercury seems to be more cadmium and lead however. I don’t know how concerned I should be about this…

I also like things to be raw. but I had no choice and had to buy precooked frozen mussels. I’ve never had them and tried 1 tiny bite earlier today and was kind of surprised by the taste. I know they have the highest carb content for shellfish so they should be sweet, but they tasted almost like carrots and tomatoes to me. Has anybody else had mussels before and can you describe your experience?


This was several decades ago, but I used to eat tons of mussels in Italy. Unlike oysters, they were never served raw. The flavor kind of reminded me of unsalted butter. They were always the catch of the day, wild, this was in a small fishing village. They were served in a white wine-based broth, and occasionally in a cheesy sauce. I have tried some in the US, bought at a supermarket. Both fresh and frozen, the fresh were raw. In Italy I learned that you discard any open ones before cooking, so that’s what I did. Both kinds lacked the richness I remembered. Neither seemed sweet to me, but I was not on Keto then yet.


Not weird at all. Farmed mussels grow on ropes attached to a pole driven into the ocean floor. They never touch the ocean floor, and thus are pretty much clear of sand. I recently cooked up 6 lbs for Mother’s Day. I cook/steam them. If they are not open after cooking, bin them. The version that I buy (PEI-Canada) has very high B-12 of 1200% and Iron of 48% of DV. I will also buy the Salt Spring variety but they are only available at certain times of the year in very limited quantities.
Lots of great recipes on the web. I use Ina Gartner’s Mussel recipe. It’s delicious, fast and simple, and there are never leftovers.
Mercury, lead and cadmium are unfortunately in all seafood and are unavoidable if you want to eat fish. Probably not a good thing to be eating fish every day or only choosing varieties that have less exposure to toxins. I would think sardines and mackerel would also be good choices as they have a short life cycle and less time to absorb the bad things. I have never had them raw, nor would I.

(M) #4

PEI are blue mussels. The blue mussels I got are from Chile. Should have similar nutritional values?

(M) #5

Velvet, I saw online some frozen cooked mussels from Denmark that are wild caught. I wonder if they would have the flavor you describe.


Yes PEI mussels are considered blue. Not sure of the Chilean values as I have never had one nor have I looked them up. Are they wild or cultured or partially cultured? My local fishmonger only brings in PEI mussels.

(M) #7

They are not wild. I assume they are grown on ropes too. Doesn’t really say on the package. It just says Whole Foods 365 frozen mussels from Chile.


Worth a try. I am not sure whether the flavor is due to the wildness, or whether the type of water they grow in determines that. Italian mussels are from the Mediterranian and Denmark would be the Baltic.


Ones really not better than the other, pretty much all marketing. Wild caught is obviously good assuming it’s caught in good clean waters that don’t have issues.

But “farmed” is misleading. People get pictures in their heads of fish in aquariums or something, farmed fish are still very much in the ocean, in tested waters that are clean, Difference is the area of water they’re in is sectioned off, creating the “tank”.

Farmed fish IMO are the fish equivalent of produce grown in greenhouses, artificial vs being in the ground yes, but more controlled and protected from the “real” ground that’s been nutrient deficient for decades and has who knows what else in it.


I agree that there is no health issue with farmed fish. There is, however, a marked difference in taste and texture between farmed and wild salmon. That’s the fish I eat most often, and I can definitely tell.

(M) #11

Shellfish and water are a bit different though. How do you know the water is clean even if the shellfish are grown on ropes, especially in a foreign country like Chile? I didn’t really like the mussels after eating more of them. Probably won’t do that again. Wild caught clams I had were more tolerable. Iron content of clams is really all over the place. They say minced have only .5mg. Whole baby clams can have up to 20mg or so. Is the chopping of the clams making them lose b12…? Wish there was an explanation for this.


Well, Denmark has very strict laws supervising food production from what I know. You can trust mussels from there.

(Todd Allen) #13

The bigger difference is in what they eat. Farmed fish are fed by the farmer who likely maximizes profit by minimizing what is paid for feed.

(M) #14

I won’t eat farmed fish. I don’t look down upon those who do but I much prefer wild fish. I like to stay as close to nature as possible


I don’t think the ‘farmed mussels’ are fed as such, at least not from what I’ve seen locally.

They are just put into rope colonies in nutrient rich yet non polluted water, so that the mature mussels can be periodically harvested whilst the smaller mussels carry on the colonies.
It beats clambering over dangerous rocks with a strong tide.

I could be wrong- there may be other types of mussel farming going on that I’m not aware of.
For example, I know there is extensive fresh water prawn farming going on in China as I saw a documentary about it. In on shore fresh water pools.
Not exactly the taste of North Sea cold sea water languistine I imagine lol.

(M) #16

Shellfish like mussels oysters and clams aren’t fed anything but I have read that pollution does get into the water even of rope grown shellfish. And apparently plastic gets into them as well like all seafood. There is plastic in salt too…


I don’t think that it’s even possible anymore to avoid any and all pollutants, whether creatures are wild caught or farmed. One can try to keep it at a minimum, but these days pollutants are everywhere. Sticking with countries with strict food regulations/consumer product regulations is certainly safer than buying from China and such. But the 100% clean living ship has long sailed.


You are correctt.