Is’ true that the best mussels are better and pulpy in the months that have in the name the letter "r"? To answer this and other questions amletiche we went to Sardinia to visit the production facilities of the mussels made in Sardinia Nieddittas, bred in the Gulf of Oristano. Italian seafood cuisine can't ignore mussels, widespread mainly in southern Italy.
What are the mussels
But how much do we know about this tasty shellfish that we all love and we cook in many ways? The mussel is a bivalve mollusc from the shell equivalve inequilaterale. The scientific name of the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis is Mediterranean or Mytilus. It belongs to the family Mytilidae. Taranto, Olbia, Chioggia, Sardinia, Scardovari and Messina are just some of the production areas of the Italian mussel. To change the area, also changes the name of these shellfish around Italy: mussels, mussels, or muscles.
the mussels, that naturally live and grow in the sea attached to rocks or piers thanks to 'fine linen’ (dark filaments that must be removed before opening the mussels and cook), They are grown intensively by man for some time. Visiting the factory of mussels made in Sardinia Nieddittas, Arborea cooperative, you can understand how mussel is a very short supply chain, ranging from the sea to the table, in a short time.
We hopped on the boat fishermen who collect the mature mussels: the waters of Corru Mannu and Torregrande, calm and transparent, are an invitation to dive. But, looking down, you see the rows of mussels, lined up in an orderly way and surrounded by fish. Every year, The cooperative produces Nieddittas in this pristine bay about 15 thousand tons of mussels,
The farming methods
Today, the cultivation of mussels is made directly into the sea due to breeding-lines, also called "long line". The mussels are attached to the movable rows, like in an underwater vineyard, and they kept under water to a depth of about three meters. The rows are raised when the mussels, Once mature, you can pick.
A winch, hooked to the row, He raises the mussels, which are then hoisted on board of the boats. The mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis types are selected in the nurseries of Sardinia and the Mediterranean (Spain and Greece) . After picking, mussels rest (They are planted) in the waters of the Gulf of Oristano, which I am also from a point of view microbacteriological.
the mussels, In fact, they feed by filtering sea water. The farms must take into account many variables, kept under control through a series of continuous levies on the product and on the waters in which they are immersed. Seeds are mussel growing. The seeds are selected also in non-Italian seas, They are bred in the waters of the seas of Sardinia.
After just one month of stay in the Sardinian waters, They may be considered identical to those sardines to taste, fragrance and flavor. In fact, from an organoleptic point of view become identical to those of Sardinia.. In addition, six months in the Sardinian waters, for companies that breed is not necessary to indicate on the label that the origin of the mussels is not Italian. Nieddittas, in every way, always precise origin of mussels marketed on the label.
Although I use the long, since I have known the market San Benedetto Cagliari, I did not think that the production of mussels made in Sardinia Nieddittas was so wide. Today, about a mussel out of five sold in Italy is brand Nieddittas. about 20% of Italian products.
Since October 2013, the cooperative has adopted a voluntary product certification for the entire chain, a "Product Quality Certificate stamp Certiquality DT N. 72” . This sticker is placed on the label and informs the consumer that the levels of heavy metals, dioxins, algal biotoxins and other substances are lower than the levels permitted by law.
The Nieddittas mussels' Made in Sardinia’ They are harvested when they have reached the size of 50-70 mm of magnitude. The boats sail, winches raise the rows and the workers shell mussels directly on the boat. The graining is the parting phase of the mussels from the spinning. On the boat you make a first wash and a manual for sorting. the mussels, placed in special baskets, They are brought to the processing plant, in Horn Mannu.
During the ginning, different mussels end up directly from the shell to the fishermen's belly, that start with a boxcutter in one quick move. The interior (pale yellow in the case of male and bright orange mussels mussels for females, most valuable) it is soft, succulent, almost palpitating. Among the 113 employees working from Nieddittas confidence in the purity of the Sardinian sea is full: no need to wait for the purification step to enjoy them.
The establishment of processing of the mussels, in Horn Mannu, is less than 20 km from the port where the fishing boats dock: the mussels, collected a short time before in the nurseries, They are immersed in containers (bin) for purification. The bin tanks are isothermal, full of sea water of the Gulf of Oristano, the same as mussels grow and feed on. The water is sterilized and debatterizzata. Here, mussels rest for at least eight hours, during which the purification takes place. Packaging, instead, It occurs only when the cooperative of fishermen come Niedditas orders from customers, to ensure maximum freshness.
In the packaging line, the mussels are first selected through a first manual selection, to eliminate broken or too small mussels. Those that pass the controls, They are inserted into individual retinas labeled, with all the necessary. provenance, lot number, the date of packaging. In case of necessity, These data allow to trace the entire path from the consumer to the production.
If you pass from Oristano, I recommend booking a free visit to the factory in Nieddittas: you will see the breeding of mussels, the step of purification and, in about two hours, you'll know everything you never dared to ask about mussels. Eventually, Obviously, you taste. The visit, In fact, It ends with a tasting of mussels and not only, since Nieddittas also sells oysters, clams, hard clams, Razor Clams (and also it has a sea bream farming).
Now let's answer to the initial question Hamlet: mussels are no longer good in the months with ‘r’. The mussels are good in the summer months, because in the cold months (many of them with the ‘r’, like February, December, November) mussels reproduce and have a pulp less consistent and full.
At this point you just need to arrange the mussels and try one of my RECIPES WITH MUSSELS Most Wanted always: the GRATIN MUSSELS, the PASTA WITH CLAMS SICILY, the PASTA BEANS AND CLAMS or traditional Peppered Mussels SICILIAN.