Camp Cooking California Blue Mussels

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Sauteing freshly gathered California Mussels (Mytilus californianus) with butter, scallions and garlic over a camp stove along the Oregon Coast. Be careful to avoid collecting mussels found on rocks near sandy beaches as wave action can leave your dinner with the grit of sand.  To avoid this, find mussels beds that drop into deep water, where sand stirred by powerful waves can’t get into the mussel beds. As always, keep one eye on the sea and work facing the ocean. Even on a perfectly calm day you can be surprised by a wave which is far larger than you would expect.  It has happened to me!  You’ll also need an Oregon recreational shellfish permit, and remember to tread lightly on the mussel beds so as not to damage or injure the diversity of creatures living there. Last but not least, before harvesting wild mussels be CERTAIN to check the ODFW hotline to ensure there isn’t a shellfish closure due to excessive levels of domoic acid.  Domoic acid is also popularly known as a ‘red tide’. Domoic acid can cause a severe condition known as Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning, which can result in severe injury or death within one hour of ingesting contaminated shellfish. Mussels are one of the great natural delicacies of our coast, and collecting and preparing them, reminds me of who I am, and grounds my connection to where I live. Along with the virtue of wild harvest comes responsibility and respect for these living resources, which can be diminished or lost in the blink of an eye. As they say, “Limit your kill, don’t kill your limit”.

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Image Number: 219-95-182

Description

Sauteing freshly gathered California Mussels (Mytilus californianus) with butter, scallions and garlic over a camp stove along the Oregon Coast. Be careful to avoid collecting mussels found on rocks near sandy beaches as wave action can leave your dinner with the grit of sand.  To avoid this, find mussels beds that drop into deep water, where sand stirred by powerful waves can’t get into the mussel beds. As always, keep one eye on the sea and work facing the ocean. Even on a perfectly calm day you can be surprised by a wave which is far larger than you would expect.  It has happened to me!  You’ll also need an Oregon recreational shellfish permit, and remember to tread lightly on the mussel beds so as not to damage or injure the diversity of creatures living there. Last but not least, before harvesting wild mussels be CERTAIN to check the ODFW hotline to ensure there isn’t a shellfish closure due to excessive levels of domoic acid.  Domoic acid is also popularly known as a ‘red tide’. Domoic acid can cause a severe condition known as Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning, which can result in severe injury or death within one hour of ingesting contaminated shellfish. Mussels are one of the great natural delicacies of our coast, and collecting and preparing them, reminds me of who I am, and grounds my connection to where I live. Along with the virtue of wild harvest comes responsibility and respect for these living resources, which can be diminished or lost in the blink of an eye. As they say, “Limit your kill, don’t kill your limit”.

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