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How long will freshly harvested mussels keep for? They were picked then washed / rinsed & left overnight in a bucket of cold water. Had some that day for tea & some again the next day. They have been kept in the cool & occasionaly rinsed and or left in the sink under water. They are still making noises so are still alive. Can they be frozen "as is" or do they need preping first?


As long as they're alive then they're edible would be my guess, unless their water is being contaminated in some way.

I wouldn't freeze uncooked shellfish myself.

Noises don't indicate life for molluscs.
If its tight closed, either resting or after being disturbed (tapped) that's a good indication. If it doesn't open after cooking, that's a bad sign.
Kept cold (like fridge cold) and damp, they'll mostly survive for a few days. Note that shops keep them in the fridge and display them on ice.
They are seawater (not freshwater) creatures, so a bucket of tapwater isn't ideal... Don't try and feed them. (I've seen books suggesting a handful of oatmeal in the water - but that's not exactly what they live on...)
But do use them ASAP.
Cook before and after freezing (so slightly undercook before). And do the freezing so they freeze as fast as possible (for food safety). Its probably inevitable that frozen mussels are going to be comparatively chewy... but a flavoursome addition to a fishy soup.

I wouldn't want to eat any live shellfish more than 3 days (maximum) out of it's natural habit

Most shellfish you are likely to buy in a fishmongers are going to be 36 hours old (unless you live right on the coast & the shellfish is supplied locally)
I live right on the coast in West Dorset & have 2 fishmongers on my doorstep - 1 buys in stock (including shellfish) from as far afield as Holland!! - the other only supplies locally caught fish/shellfish (wife runs shop, husband runs boat)

I also go foraging for shellfish (mostly cockles & clams) locally & always make sure I cook & eat live shellfish within 24 hours at most

If you know how fresh shellfish is, it can be frozen in a conventional freezer no problem as long as it is cooked fresh & frozen immediately.

If in any doubt - chuck it out!
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