Is It Safe To Eat Mussels While You Are Pregnant?

Mussels While Pregnant

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Are you particularly fond of eating seafood but are now very wary of doing so as you are pregnant? Do you want to know about the safety of eating mussels while pregnant?

If you are looking for answers to any of the above queries, it would be a good idea to read our post. Scroll down and get all the information you need about eating mussels during pregnancy.

What Are Mussels?

Mussels are the name given to the family of sea clams, but mussels live in freshwater bodies as well.

Is It Safe To Eat Mussels While Pregnant?

Once you are pregnant, it is important to consult your doctor first and learn what is safe, and what isn’t. While some doctors say you shouldn’t eat mussels when pregnant, others say it is safe to eat mussels during pregnancy, but only if you follow a few important cooking tips:

  • Ensure that you cook the mussels until their shells open up, which is a signal that they are well cooked. In case some do not open, make sure you throw them away. Mussels use their shells to filter the water in order to get their food, which means that the shells contain various bacteria and viruses. You should break the mussels’ shells before you eat them.
  • Eating raw or undercooked mussels can expose you and your unborn baby to the bacteria like Vibrio vulnificus. The type of bacteria that has a rod-like shape and can easily thrive in salt water. If you come in contact with Vibrio vulnificus bacteria, it can lead to food poisoning and other health issues (1).

[ Read: Is It Safe To Eat Escargot While Pregnant ]

Health Benefits Of Eating Mussels:

Once your doctor has given you the go-ahead to eat mussels, and you have made sure that you have cooked it properly, enjoy the many health benefits of eating mussels when pregnant, which include:

  • Mussels contain lean protein that will help in the development of your unborn baby’s muscles, cells and tissues.
  • The iron content in mussels will help to produce more blood in your body, which is a key requirement while you are pregnant. It will also keep you from tiring easily during pregnancy months.
  • Additionally, mussels also contain a good amount of zinc, vitamin C, potassium as well as calcium. These minerals are good for the development of your unborn baby as well as your health (2).

[ Read: Eating Oysters During Pregnancy ]

Recipes With Mussels:

Make sure you speak to your doctor before trying to eat mussels while pregnant, and ensure that when you do, it is properly cooked. Here are a few recipes that use mussels as an ingredient. You can substitute ingredients that make you queasy, or the one your doctor asks you to avoid.

1. Mussels In Saffron Cream:

Mussels While Pregnant - Mussels In Saffron Cream

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 4 lbs. of cultivated mussels
  • 1 large sliced onion
  • ¼thtsp of crushed saffron thread
  • ¾thof tsp salt or as per taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper as per taste
  • 3 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • Water

How To:

  • Place a pot over medium heat; once it is hot, add the olive oil.
  • Once the oil starts to heat, add the onions, the saffron, and the salt and make sure you keep stirring for about five to ten minutes or till the onions turn soft.
  • Add a little water and let it all come to a boil.
  • Now add the cream, the black pepper and the mussels. Cover the pot and keep cooking for about six to eight minutes or till the shells of the mussels open up.
  • Check all the mussels and in case some of them still have their shells intact, remove them immediately. Once you remove the unsafe ones, add the parsley and serve it warm.

2. Mussels In Garlic Butter:

Mussels While Pregnant - Mussels In Garlic Butter

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 3 pounds of scrubbed and de-bearded fresh mussels
  • 10 tbsp. of garlic butter
  • ¾thcup of finely chopped shallots
  • 6 minced large cloves of garlic
  • 4 tbsp. of chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. of freshly grated lemon peel
  • Water

How To:

  • Place the mussels in a big and heavy Dutch oven and cover with a lid. Cover the mussels with enough water and cook them over high heat till the shells of the mussels break open. Keep shaking the pan occasionally, for about five to ten minutes, till all the mussels’ shells crack. In case some mussels’ shells haven’t broken, throw them away immediately.
  • Take the mussels out and place them in a bowl. Tent the bowl with foil. Don’t drain the water in which you boiled the mussels but reserve it for later use.
  • Keep the same Dutch oven over medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter melts, add the shallots and the garlic and sauté everything for about three minutes or till it turns tender.
  • Add three tbsp. of parsley, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Next, add the water in which you had boiled the mussels that you had earlier kept aside.
  • Bring the mix to a boil over medium heat. Once it is done, season with the freshly ground black pepper and drizzle some garlic butter over the mussels. When you are about to serve, add one tbsp. of parsley on top as a garnish.

[ Read: Seafood During Pregnancy ]

3. Mussels South Of Two Borders:

Mussels While Pregnant - Mussels South Of Two Borders

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 1/3rdcup of diced Spanish chorizo
  • 1 diced medium sized onion
  • 1 diced small sized plum tomato
  • 2 tbsp. of drained and chopped canned green chiles
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • ½ tsp of freshly ground black pepper or as per taste
  • 2 pounds of scrubbed and de-bearded mussels
  • ¼thcup of chopped fresh cilantro
  • Water

How To:

  • Place a big saucepan over medium heat. Once it warms up, place the chorizos inside and keep cooking them for about three to five minutes, or till they turn a medium brown color.
  • Next, add the onions and keep cooking, making sure you stir it nicely to avoid sticking. Cook for about three more minutes or till the onions turn soft.
  • Now add the tomatoes, the chiles, the cumin and the black pepper. Keep cooking and make sure you keep stirring as well, for about three minutes or till the tomatoes start to break down.
  • Add a little water to avoid the ingredients from sticking to the bottom and bring it all to a boil.
  • Add the mussels and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the saucepan and bring the heat to about medium to low and cook for another seven to eight minutes till the shells of the mussels have opened. Check all the mussels and in case some shells have still not opened, discard them immediately. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cilantro.

4. Quick Paella With Mussels And Shrimp:

Mussels While Pregnant - Quick Paella With Mussels And Shrimp

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup of chopped onions
  • ½ cup of chopped red bell peppers
  • 2 minced cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups of instant brown rice
  • 1 1/3rdcup of reduced sodium chicken broth
  • ½ tsp of dried thyme
  • ¼thtsp of freshly ground black pepper or as per taste
  • ¼thtsp of salt or as per taste
  • 1 large pinch of saffron
  • 1 pound of peeled and deveined raw shrimp
  • 1 cup of frozen and thawed green peas
  • 1 pound of well-scrubbed mussels
  • 4 wedges of lemon

How To:

  • Place a pan over medium heat and once it starts to heat up, add the oil. Add the onion, the bell peppers, and the garlic and keep stirring properly. Cook it for about three minutes or till the vegetables turn tender.
  • Next, add the rice the broth, the thyme, the salt, and pepper as well as the saffron. Let it all boil over medium heat. Cover the pan and cook it for about five more minutes.
  • Now add the shrimp and the green peas and very carefully place the mussels on top of the rice in a proper and even layer. Cover the pan again and keep cooking till the shells of the mussels open. Also, check to see that the rice has turned tender. It should take about five to eight minutes for the mussels as well as the rice to cook properly.
  • Once done, remove the pan from the heat and keep it aside with the lid still on. Let it rest for about five minutes so that all the liquid can get absorbed in the rice.
  • While serving, add the lemon wedges as a garnish.

[ Read: Eating Sushi During Pregnancy ]

5. Grilled Mussels With Curry Butter:

Mussels While Pregnant - Grilled Mussels With Curry Butter

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 3 tbsp. of softened butter
  • 2 cloves of pressed garlic
  • 1 tsp of curry powder
  • ½ tsp of ground cumin
  • 1/8thtsp of salt or as per taste
  • 2 pounds of scrubbed and de-bearded mussels
  • 1 cup of chopped red bell peppers
  • ¼thcup of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 thinly sliced lime
  • 1 lime cut into 4 wedges
  • Oil for greasing

How To:

  • Preheat an outdoor grill and lightly grease it with oil.
  • Mix the butter, the garlic, the curry powder, the cumin and the salt in a bowl.
  • Take four sheets of aluminum foil and place them on a flat surface. Place the mussels in equal portions on each sheet of the foil. Add a little curry powder mix on top. Next, sprinkle the parsley and the red bell pepper on top. Add a lime slice on each mussel and close it tightly in the foil.
  • Place the foils on the preheated grill for about five to ten minutes or till the shells of the mussels have opened up. Check all the mussels and if some of them have still not opened up the shells, discard them immediately.
  • Take the mussels out of the foil and place in a bowl and a lime wedge as garnish while serving.

[ Read: Benefits Of Eating Eel During Pregnancy ]

6. Steamed Mussels In Tomato Broth:

Mussels While Pregnant - Steamed Mussels In Tomato Broth

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic
  • 6 cored and coarsely chopped ripe plum tomatoes
  • A little water
  • 3 pounds of scrubbed and de-bearded mussels
  • 2 tsp of chopped fresh parsley

How To:

  • Place a pot over low heat and once it gets hot, add the oil. Make sure you use a pot that has a good tight-fitting lid. Add the garlic and cook it for about three minutes and stir it constantly, till it turns a nice golden color.
  • Now add the tomatoes and increase the heat from low to high. Keep stirring the tomatoes for about a minute or till they start getting a little tender. Add a little water and let it boil.
  • Next, add the mussels and cover the pot. Let the mussels steam in the tomato liquid. Make sure that you keep shaking the pot at regular intervals so that all the mussels can open up. Keep doing so for about three to four minutes. Once you have shaken up the pot and think that all the mussels have opened up, check them properly. If any shells of the mussels have still not opened, make sure to throw them out.
  • Take out the mussels and place them in a serving bowl. Drizzle the tomato broth over the mussels and sprinkle the parsley on top.

[ Read: Is It Safe To Eat Crab During Pregnancy ]

7. Yellow Curry Mussels With Lime:

Mussels While Pregnant - Yellow Curry Mussels With Lime

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 1 tbsp. of Thai yellow curry paste
  • 2 cups of light coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp. of brown sugar
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 2 limes
  • 2 kg of scrubbed and de-bearded mussels
  • 6 leaves of kaffir limes
  • 1 finely chopped and deseeded long red chilli
  • 2 tbsp. of chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 cup of Doongara rice cooked as per the instructions on the packet

How To:

  • In a wok, mix the curry paste, the coconut milk, the sugar and the lime juice. Place the wok over high heat and let the mix come to a boil.
  • Keep stirring the mix till the sugar gets completely dissolved.
  • Now add the mussels as well as the leaves of the limes and cover the wok to help the fragrance mix in well.
  • Cook the mix for about five minutes or till all the shells of the mussels have opened up. Check the mussels and in case any mussel still has an unopened shell, discard it immediately.
  • Take out the mussels from the mix and place it in a bowl. Use the chilli and the coriander to garnish and serve with the warm cooked rice.

8. Fragrant Mussels In Coconut And Lemongrass Broth:

Mussels While Pregnant - Fragrant Mussels In Coconut And Lemongrass Broth

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 4 eschalots
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass
  • 2 long green chillies
  • ¼thtsp of ground turmeric
  • 1/3rdcup of peanut or vegetable oil
  • 2 by 1 tbsp. blocks of palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp. of fish sauce
  • A little water
  • 8 leaves of kaffir lime
  • 2 kg of pot ready black mussels
  • 400 g can of light coconut cream
  • ½ cup of Thai basil or coriander leaves
  • Fried Asian shallots
  • Lime cheeks to be used at the time of serving

How To:

  • Peel the eschalots and the garlic and then cut them up in halves.
  • Cut out the white portion of the lemongrass and chop it up roughly.
  • Cut the chillies lengthwise in half and then chop them up roughly.
  • Take a food processor and add the eschalots, the garlic, the chillies and the lemongrass. Also add the turmeric and the oil and mix it well to form a smooth paste.
  • Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add the paste to the pan. Keep cooking at least for eight minutes or till you can start to feel the fragrance.
  • Now add the palm sugar as well as the fish sauce and keep stirring for another two minutes or till the sugar mixes in completely.
  • Add the water and the lime leaves and let it all boil. Once it starts to boil, put in the mussels and cover the pan with the lid. Keep shaking the pan for about five minutes at regular intervals, and keep checking that the mussels are done, and the shells are open. If there are still any mussels whose shells have not opened, discard them immediately. Alternatively, you can try and keep cooking the mussels whose shells have not opened by keeping them in the broth for longer.
  • Use a tong to divide the opened up mussels in different bowls. Now add the coconut cream to the broth and let it all simmer.
  • Next, ladle the broth on the mussels in the bowl and sprinkle the Thai basil leaves on top. Also add a generous sprinkling of the fried shallots.
  • Serve the mussels immediately while they are still warm along with the lime cheeks.

[ Read: Risks Of Eating Prawns During Pregnancy ]

9. Simple Steamed Mussels:

Mussels While Pregnant - Simple Steamed Mussels

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 2 tbsp. of butter
  • ¼thcup of minced shallots
  • ¾thcup of any stock of your choice
  • 3 pounds of cleaned and de-bearded mussels
  • ½ cup of chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt as per taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper as per taste

How To:

  • Take a pot and heat it for some time over medium heat. Once it becomes hot, add the butter and let it melt. Once the butter has melted, add the shallots and sauté them till they turn translucent.
  • Now add the stock of your choice along with the mussels. Add salt as per taste. Increase the heat from medium to high and steam the mussels for some time, for about five minutes or till the shells of the mussels have opened up. Check all the mussels to check for the shells. In case there are some mussels whose shells have not opened yet, you can try to cook them a little bit longer or discard them.
  • Once you have separated the cooked and the uncooked mussels, take them out of the pot and place them in a serving bowl. Now very carefully pour the liquid over the mussels and sprinkle some fresh parsley over the top. Add the freshly ground black pepper on top to season the mussels. Serve immediately.

10. French Country Mussels:

Mussels While Pregnant - French Country Mussels

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 1 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 16 ounce diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup of minced parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper as per taste
  • 1 cup of stock of any choice
  • 4 lbs. of cleaned mussels

How To:

  • Heat a pan over medium heat and add the oil. Once it heats up, add the garlic and the onion and keep stirring for about five minutes or till it turns brown.
  • Now add the tomatoes, the fresh parsley, and the freshly ground black pepper and keep cooking for about two minutes or till the tomatoes start to turn tender.
  • Next, add the mussels and toss them well. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for another three to four minutes, making sure that you keep stirring the pan at regular intervals.
  • Serve the mussels in a bowl along with some crispy French bread to soak up the juices.

[ Read: Is It Safe To Eat Flounder While Pregnant ]

Speak with your doctor and if you are allowed to eat mussels while pregnant, try some of our recipes from above.

Did you eat mussels during pregnancy? What was your favorite dish? Tell us below.

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