Māori Name: kuku, kūtai
Name Scientific: Perna canaliculus
Availability: Year round
Attributes Length: 10–15cm, reaching 23cm
One of the world's most successfully farmed mussels, they are found only in New Zealand. There are Greenshell™ Mussel farms in Marlborough Sounds, Coromandel, Golden Bay and Stewart Island where the shellfish are grown on lines suspended from ropes above the seabed.
A dark green shell often blended with yellow, red, or brown streaks, especially in juveniles or those grown on ropes. Inside, the shell is iridescent. Mature males have creamy-white flesh, while female flesh is apricot-orange. Intertidal and exposed mussels are often blue-black. All specimens have a distinctive green lip.
Greenshell™ Mussels are members of the Mytilidae family (mussels). Related species: Blue mussel (Mytilus edulis aoteanus) is a related species in the Mytilidae family that is abundant around (and south of) Cook Strait, but is not generally commercially harvested. The shell is a dark blue-black, often chalky white around the hinge area. They are not farmed and are smaller (five to seven centimetres) than Greenshell™ Mussels. They are a subspecies of the edible European blue mussel.
A green food source, New Zealand Greenshell™ Mussels are often referenced as one of the best sustainable seafood options. As filter feeders they take all their nutrients from the seawater - nothing else is added. Every farm must operate in accordance with a resource consent that sets strict conditions determined and enforced by the local council. The consent is in effect a licence that tightly controls, among other things, the size of the farm, activities permitted and required monitoring. The Quota Management System does not apply to Greenshell™ Mussels; it is instead governed by provisions within the Resource Management Act and the Aquaculture Act.
Harvested all year-round (after growing for between 14 and 18 months) farmed mussels are fatter and more tender than wild mussels.
Did You Know
One 100-gram serving of Greenshell™ Mussels provides a quarter of an adult's daily protein needs and just under half the daily iodine they require.
Greenshell™ Mussels are plump and richly flavoured. This versatile shellfish can be served hot or cold and cooked in a myriad of ways: bake, grill, sauté, barbeque, fry, curry, marinate, soup/chowder, smoke or steam.
Live mussels should have tightly closed shells or close slowly when tapped. Rinse the mussels under running water, then tug out their beards and consume within 48 hours of purchase. Live mussels can be stored in an open container in the fridge covered with a damp cloth. Smoked or marinated greenshell mussels will have a use-by date on their packaging.