oysters for the poor

It’s hard to believe that oysters used to be considered a peasants’ food. Barrels of ice and freshly shucked oysters were to be found on London street corners, and pubs served them up with pints as a snack.

Cheap and sustainable

The reason for the popularity of these tasty bivalves was the low-price point, a result of the ease in which they grow naturally. As filter feeders, they help to keep the water around them clear and sweet.  Meaning that even the farmed variety are sustainable and ecologically sound.

The Oyster, An aphrodisiac?

As popularity increased, so did the price.  This meant that often they were a treat enjoyed on special occasions. The reputation of oysters as an aphrodisiac grew, and they began to be associated with Valentine’s Day.

While there are no special qualities that are specifically good for this sort of celebration, oysters contain plenty of zinc.  Zinc is an energy booster that creates a feel-good mood, thus the connection between oysters and amore!

Other health benefits

Oysters (along with most other shellfish) are also high in iron, selenium, calcium, and vitamins including A, C, and B12.  Which means that including a couple in your weekly diet is one of the easiest possible ways to make sure you get your recommended dosage of health boosting minerals and vitamins.

Oyster serving suggestions

Low in calories and fat but high in protein, oysters should not continue to be relegated to the starter menu.  A dozen just-shucked oysters sprinkled with tabasco, mignonette, or simple lemon is a sure-fire way to get the taste buds tingling and satisfy hearty appetites. For those that prefer their molluscs warm, serve them grilled with butter and cream for a fulfilling option.

The delicate flavour of the sea comes through no matter what your favourite method happens to be. What’s more, oysters can be paired with a deliciously crisp white wine or a sturdy stout. Easy to prepare, a friend to all accompaniments, and healthy beyond belief.

Oysters really are the wonder-food that has been right under our noses all this time!

health benefits of shellfish

Last month we told you all about the health benefits of mussels but what are the health benefits of all shellfish?

  • Extra energy
  • Glowing skin
  • Healthy heart

To name a few, it’s hard to beat shellfish.

Shellfish are full of nutrients, minerals, and those excellent omega-3s. They are quick, easy and (above all) a delicious way to improve your diet. It's recommended you have 2 portions of fish a week.

Scottish Shellfish – On your doorstep!

Luckily, in Scotland we have a wide array of choice, and you can be sure that whatever you choose the journey from sea to plate is as quick as can be. All you should do is look forward to including fresh, delicate shellfish in your new favourite recipes.

Mussels, oysters, crab and lobster are extremely low in fat and high in protein which is good news for anybody hoping to lose weight without forgoing flavour.  A portion of shellfish will leave you feeling full and satisfied, all without sacrificing the calories.

What can I eat with shellfish?

The options are endless, but the classics are always a winner:

  • Mussels in white wine
  • Lobster with a little lemon
  • Crab and avocado salad
  • Oysters with a touch of tabasco

What could be more mouth-watering, while still being so very good for you?

Additional Benefits  

If the above isn’t reason enough to tuck into some tasty Scottish shellfish, they also contain zinc, copper, magnesium and iron, all necessary minerals that will improve health overall.  Iron deficiencies can leave you feeling tired and weak, so making sure to take in enough is a great way to boost energy levels, naturally.

Shellfish for dinner?

With such versatile, tempting produce available on our doorstep, fresh and sweet and ready for your recipes, it is almost a crime to ignore Scottish shellfish! With all the above benefits it’s surely time to add more mussels, oysters, crab and lobster to your diet?

Mussels

Mussels are an under-appreciated wonder food. Full of vitamins and minerals, high in protein and low in fat.  It is a wonder these culinary stars are not more of a staple in the British diet. However, with more information about the health benefits of mussels than ever before, it’s starting to change. Top nutritionists and fitness professionals have started to explore how the simple mussel boosts physical health.

Health Benefit 1 - High Protein and Low Fat

Seafood (shellfish in particular) is high in protein and low in fat. This is great news for anyone on a calorie restricted diet, as it shows it’s possible to enjoy exciting meals that are healthy without sacrificing flavour. There is no need for fat, as steaming or boiling with a few herbs or white wine is the best way to prepare a tasty mussel dish.

Health Benefit 2 - Iron & Protein

For those who enjoy a high-protein intake, mussels offer a welcome break from steak. Not only are they better for the environment (as they are ecologically friendly and easy to farm) they also offer levels of protein and iron that rival that of red meat.  An increase in protein and iron intake boosts mood, energy levels, and even complexion.  A fantastic outcome from introducing mussels to your weekly diet!

Health Benefit 3 - High in Vitamins A & B12

Vitamin A is excellent for the skin, eyes and immune system. While B12 is an essential vitamin that only naturally occurs in animal products. B12 deficiency can lead to problems with heart health and anaemia, among other complications, and is important for overall health. Make sure you get the recommended daily allowance from dairy products, eggs, and, of course, sources such as shellfish and mussels.

Health Benefit 4 - Improves Brain Function

Mussels contribute to circulatory health and energy levels.  Are brilliant for improving brain function and reducing inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis.

Health Benefit 5 - Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The heart benefits from a reduction in the risk of heart attack due to those all-important Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are vital, and have all sorts of health benefits that should not be overlooked.

Why Mussels?

Mussels are one of the most well-rounded foods to include in your diet, high in zinc, iron and other minerals, vitamins A and B12. A fantastic source of protein, low in calories and low in fat. Prepared in a classic moules marinière or in a more adventurous Thai curry, or simply steamed. No matter how they are eaten, rest assured they are a delicious and healthy choice.

Healthy Benefits Mussels

Did you know that Scottish rope grown mussels have one of the lowest carbon footprints around for any kind of protein production?

In this modern age where sustainability and low environmental impact are seen as essential components of modern food production, research has shown that one of the best foods for meeting such requirements are Scottish mussels

A report published by the Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum (SARF) in 2011 revealed that the footprint of Scottish mussels is around 19 times less than found in beef production. The report concluded that mussels can justifiably be promoted as a low-carbon food.

These environmentally friendly credentials were backed up in a later BBC Horizon programme where presenter and food science expert, Dr Michael Mosely described Scottish rope grown mussels as “one of the most efficient and tasty forms of animal protein in the world”.

The reason why this should be so is easy to see, given the natural growing techniques used in mussel production. Young mussels (as free floating larvae or spat) settle naturally on the suspended ropes and then grow by feeding on sea plankton found in the rich tidal flows around Scotland.

Mussels make the perfect Valentine’s Day treat – quick and easy to cook, and looking absolutely sensational when served on a plate!

Indeed, mussels really are the ‘food of love’. They contain life-enhancing minerals like magnesium, copper, iodine, iron and selenium – as well as zinc, which is critical to human libido and fertility. They are also a good source of healthy Omega-3 oils that are good for your heart.

No wonder that mussels are now widely regarded as the ultimate ‘sexy’ dish, and sharing a bowl of these delicious shellfish helps couples to relax and feel comfortable in each other’s company.

And then, of course, there are oysters. Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be the same without these wonderful gems from the sea. It is said Casanova allegedly ate 50 oysters for breakfast every morning to boost his libido. Studies have also shown that raw oysters are full of certain amino acids that can trigger increased levels of sex hormones.

So, it would seem that mussels and oysters really are the perfect romantic treat! Take a look at our recipe page for some ideas on how to prepare. Enjoy!

Healthy Mussels with Pasta

With the New Year upon us, now is the time to get eating healthily – and when it comes to superfoods, then mussels are right there at the top!

Mussels, oysters and other shellfish can play a crucial role in maintain good health and for feeling great.

Shellfish such as mussels are rich in zinc and selenium. A meal of mussels can provide half our daily need for zinc and more than one and a half times the amount of antioxidant selenium we should have. A serving also provides a third of our daily needs for iron – which is particularly important for those who are at risk from developing iron deficiency anaemia.

Mussels are also a good source of vitamins B2 and B12, phosphorous, copper, iodine and heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids.

And why are all these good for you?

  • Zinc helps process the carbohydrate, fat and protein in the food we eat and assists with the healing of wounds.
  • Vitamin B12 is important for the normal functioning of the brain and the nervous system and plays a key role in the formation of red blood cells.
  • Iron is key in making the red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body. Iron deficiency can result in anaemia.
  • Selenium plays a key role in the human body’s antioxidant defence system, preventing damage to cells and tissues.
  • Omega 3 helps protect the heart and is believed to reduce the risk of developing some forms of cancers.

Mussels are also so easy to cook, which makes them the perfect partner as part of your healthy eating regime!

Mussels and oysters make a great Christmas treat and are the ideal special occasion food, easy to prepare and taste so good too!

Whether it is a delicious mussel ready meal from your local supermarket or buying from the fresh fish counter or your local fishmonger, you simply can’t go wrong with these fantastic shellfish.

Scottish mussels and oysters are the ultimate in sustainable seafood, growing naturally in Scotland’s pristine sea lochs and voes. Indeed, our rope-grown mussels are certified with the Marine Stewardship Council ecolabel for the environmentally responsible way they are cultivated.

They are healthy to eat too and can give your body a good all-round nutrient boost.

Top mussel serving suggestion: Add unshelled mussels to curries, stir-fries and fish pie, or cook in a tomato based sauce and serve with spaghetti or linguine.

Sustainability is very much a ‘buzzword’ nowadays, and quite rightly so, because it is now more important than ever that our food comes from sustainable and responsible sources.

We are rather proud of the fact that our cultivated mussels and oysters are one of the most sustainable types of food around. And what’s the secret? Well, it is because we don’t actually do very much, we just let nature takes its course!

Here is how. Our mussels grow on ropes suspended from floats in the clean seas of the West coast of Scotland and Shetland. The young mussels (as free floating larvae or spat) settle naturally on the suspended ropes, and then grow by feeding on sea plankton. In other words, they do not require any external feed sources (or indeed veterinary treatments), they just hang from the ropes and grow!

Scottish rope-grown mussels do not grow on the seabed and are not dredged for harvesting, which means they are full-bodied and grit-free, and of course, taste great! Our oysters are cultivated in a similar manner, but instead of using ropes, they are grown in special mesh bags that are held on trestles in the inter-tidal zone.

The environmental impact is minimal and mussel and oyster production has a very low carbon footprint.

But don’t just take our word for it. Our mussel farms are independently certified by the Marine Stewardship Council ecolabel scheme for their sustainable and environmentally responsible manner of cultivation! So go on, do your bit for the environment, and treat yourself to some sustainably produced Scottish mussels and oysters!