Ingredient Name: Baby Mussels (dried)
Traditional Chinese Name: 青口幹 (qīng kǒu gàn)
What is this?
- A dried and processed type of salt of fresh water shellfish of the clam family with elongated shells
- The shells are often black, brown, beige in color and are found without the shells when they are used in soups
- The mussels used in these soups are smaller in size
- Dried and prepared mussels are more commonly used in Chinese soups than fresh mussels (which are not common at all)
- Dried mussels are also used in various Chinese dishes along with black moss
- They are often tougher in texture than their relative clams and to some are an acquired taste
How do I prepare it?
- Soak in water for 10-15 minutes and rinse before usage
Where can I buy this?
- You can buy dried mussels at supermarkets, wet marts or Chinese herbalists
- Canned, processed mussels can also be used for soups – which are available at supermarkets
What is the cost
- The prices vary depending on size, breed, availability and whether they are imported or organic
- Mussels are an excellent source of B12, Selenium, Zinc, Iron and folate
- They are also an excellent source of protein
- Compared to meats, they have less fat
- They are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids (which help reduce heart disease)
- Be sure to buy from a reputable source
- Dried and processed mussels should have a salty, fragrant smell to them so be sure to take a good whiff before purchasing (this is more common to the bulk buys available in Asian markets)
- Dried mussels can be kept frozen for up to 6 months (and taken out when needed for soups)
- Dried mussels can also be kept in the fridge for up to 2 months in a sealed container
- Keep mussels in a dry environment
Can you eat the dried mussels as is, meaning straight out of the package?
Dear Debra, if I am buying the products in HK or China, as a safety thing, I would lean towards NO. This is because I am a cautious Westerner and I don’t trust these products “out-of-box”. Boiling them/frying them or cooking them to death will ensure that all the germs and bugs are dead, dead, dead! But if anyone has eaten before and have come out clean, please do let me know. I could be totally paranoid! Lisa
Can you provide some insight (contrast and compare) into how one can tell loose dried oysters from dried mussels when shopping at the Chinese herbal shops? – provided you can’t always rely on signage they put up…