Oysters vs Mussels Difference — Taste, Nutrition, Use

Properly prepared seafood is a delicious and healthy delicacy. Both mussels and oysters that belong to the bivalve family are popular because of their taste and nutritional value. Despite the fact that they belong to the same family, oysters and mussels are not the same. Yes, there are some similarities between them, but the difference is big, too. Let’s compare oysters and mussels according to their taste, nutrition value, health benefits, appearance, and use.

What is the difference between oysters and mussels? Oyster’s shell is concave or flat, and its edges are uneven. Oyster’s shell is rough to the touch, and is light in color. Mussels are smaller in size than oysters. Mussel’s shell is round or drop-shaped, has a concave shape. Mussels are a lot cheaper than oysters due to their availability and smaller demand.

Ultimate Guide on Main Differences Between Oysters and Mussels

Oysters Mussels
Family  Ostreidae Mytilidae
Appearance  Oyster’s shell can be concave or flat, the edges of the shell are wavy, uneven, the surface is rough to the touch. Mussel’s shell is rounded or drop-shaped, always concave. The edges are perfectly straight and sharp. The surface is smooth to the touch.
Color Oyster’s shell is always light Mussel’s shell can be brown or almost black
Habitat Only marine  Seas, rivers, bodies of water
Lifestyle Settled. Oysters attach to the stones and do not move during their life. There is no byssus thread. An active lifestyle. Mussels are attached to stones with a thin and strong thread (byssus).
Settlements Oysters settle on the principle of a colony, according to the method of layering on top of each other. Mussels live in rows, live in colonies.
Nutritional Value Oysters contain iodine, vitamins and minerals, and are rich in fluoride. Oysters are suitable for dietetic food. Mussels contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, and are rich in sodium. Mussels are suitable for dietetic food.
Gastronomic Features Oysters can be eaten raw, as well as after heat treatment. Mussels are not recommended to eat raw. They should be heat-treated.

Mussels vs Oysters Taste

What tastes better oysters or mussels? Oysters are considered tastier than mussels. Oyster meat is soft, jelly-like, and tender. Mussel meat, unlike oyster meat, is thicker in consistency, especially after heat treatment, and its taste is not so soft and delicate. To find out what tastes better, you should try both delicacies. 

What do oysters taste like? There are many varieties and flavors of oysters, from nutty to creamy, from fruity to salty. Farmed oysters often have a more multifaceted and delicate flavor, but this does not mean that they are better or worse than wild ones.

What do mussels taste like? Mussels are delicate and sweetish in taste. Mussel meat is boiled, stewed in various sauces (creamy, tomato, garlic, etc.), pickled, salted, fried and even smoked. Someone calls mussels “sea chicken”, someone compares it to juicy chewing gum.

Speaking about the taste of oysters and mussels, we must mention their price. Mussels tolerates freezing well, therefore, it is transported to different parts of the country at no extra cost. This product is sold in any large supermarket for a smaller price. Oysters are a more sophisticated delicacy and not everyone can afford them.

Are oyster and mussels the same? No, oysters and mussels are not the same. Mussels differ from oysters in appearance. The latter are much larger. The shell of oysters is concave or flat, its edges are wavy, uneven. The surface of the oyster shell is rough to the touch, and its color is often light.

Mussels are smaller in size than oysters. The mussel shell is round or drop-shaped, has a concave shape. Its edges are even and very sharp. Depending on the habitat, the color of the shell can vary: the most common shades are golden brown and bluish black. The surface of the mussel shell is smooth to the touch.

The mussel is attached to stones with a thin but strong byssus thread. Thanks to this thread, the mollusk can lead an active lifestyle, using it as a leg and moving to other places. Oyster has no byssus. That is why these mollusks are sedentary and cannot move to other places.

The oyster and mussel colonies are also very different. The first settle on the principle of layering one oyster on another. Mussels are arranged in rows.

Mussels vs Oysters Nutrition

As for the nutritional value, both oysters and mussels are extremely nutritious and contain a large amount of vitamins and trace elements necessary for the human body (including excellent prevention of cancer). Mussels are high in sodium, while oysters are high in fluoride.

Are oysters or mussels healthy? Mussels and oysters, like the vast majority of seafood, are very useful for our health. They contain a lot of minerals, trace elements, vitamins we need. The benefits of mussels and oysters are not the only positive quality of this seafood. By themselves, they are very tasty, they can be served both as an independent dish, and as an ingredient in others.

Mussels Health Benefits

Mussels normalize blood cholesterol levels, prevent diseases of the cardiovascular system, promote weight loss, and improve metabolism. Mussels contain a huge amount of vitamins, in particular A, C, D, PP, E and group B.

Mussels are rich in antioxidants, and their regular consumption can prevent the occurrence of various forms of cancer. They also contribute to the improvement of metabolism and the early removal of toxins from the body, and this, in turn, slows down the aging process.

Mussels have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system, improving blood flow to the capillaries. This reduces the risk of diseases such as arthritis or gout. In addition, the positive effect of mussels on the central nervous system and even on our psychological state has been proven: they relieve depression, improve mood, and increase vitality.

The nutritional value of 100 g of mussels is 77 kcal, which allows you to use shellfish as a dietary food, as well as use them for preparing light meals.

Oysters Health Benefits

Oyster meat is superior to fish in its nutritional properties. Due to its rich chemical composition with a high content of zinc, iodine, fluorine and phosphorus, shellfish are shown as a dietary and therapeutic food, the effectiveness of which has been confirmed by many European nutritionists. In addition, oyster meat contains vitamins necessary for normal growth and development of the body, including A, C, D, B and PP.

The best, from a gastronomic point of view, are the Mediterranean oysters. They are the main component for the preparation of delicious French and Belgian cuisine.

Cooking Oysters and Mussels

The difference between oysters and mussels lies in the way they are prepared. Oysters do not need to be cooked, but mussels do. This is because oysters are a cleaner product. They are eaten raw. And mussels, due to their more active life, accumulate in themselves a dangerous dose of harmful substances that go into water after boiling.

Oysters can be eaten raw by sprinkling with lemon juice. The ajar shells of these molluscs are served on crushed ice. Eating mussels raw is highly undesirable. The point is that they are living filters, letting in seawater and accumulating harmful substances. These shellfish are best eaten after being cooked.

Oyster meat is not recommended for those who suffer from chronic diseases of the digestive system. Mussels should be eaten with caution by allergy sufferers.

Mussels vs Oysters The Bottom Line

Oysters and mussels are shellfish with a lot of differences. But despite the difference, they are a good dietary food that can supply the body with the necessary nutrients. Consuming these foods regularly will have a beneficial effect on your health. Both types of molluscs have a very high nutritional value for the human body. Both oysters and mussels are good cancer prevention measures due to the high content of elements such as sodium and fluoride in the molluscs.

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