4100 Northpoint Blvd.
Baltimore, Maryland 21222

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A Brief History of Mussels in Maryland

History of Mussels

Mussels have a very long history in Maryland.

Humans have been eating mussels for thousands of years. But there were times that the mussel wasn’t so popular. Luckily, the mussel has regained popularity through a long and varied history. Take a look at the history of mussel-eating habits in America.

Early Days

The mussel used to be a staple food for coastal Native American tribes. While freshwater mussels aren’t eaten as much today, the native peoples of early America ate them often. They provided a good source of protein, and the shells could be used to make tools and jewelry.

Later Days

The popularity of mussels died off in America until the Great Depression. Many people were turning to mussels as a cheap source of protein. During World War II, mussels were commonly served in diners and were encouraged as a cheap alternative to red meat, which was scarce during the war. Many immigrants, especially Italian-and Portuguese-Americans, enjoyed mussels as an inexpensive and available food source. Mussels were also commonly used to make mother-of-pearl buttons until plastics became popular in the 1930s. However, because mussels were eaten during these lean times, they began to be associated with poverty. Two ingenious farmers managed to change all this. During the late 1970s, these farmers started to cultivate mussels using aquaculture methods they had learned from Europe. This method produced a cleaner mussel that was readily accepted by the eager American palate.


We still enjoy every part of the mussel today. Mussel shells are cultivated and shipped to Asia, where they are used to make beads that are then placed in live mussels to help them create pearls. Scientists use mussels to track the quality of water samples. Mussels even naturally clean our Maryland rivers by filtering the water. When it comes to food, we can enjoy mussels steamed, with butter and wine, and even with fries and herbs! There are so many delicious ways to enjoy the mussel; how fortunate we that the mussel has regained its popularity!

Enjoy Maryland blue crabs at Costas Inn!

Costas Inn has been a family owned and operated restaurant for over 40 years. We were voted #1 Crab Restaurant 2014 in the Baltimore Business Journal! You can enjoy our famous crab cakes in-house or order them online for anytime eating. We also provide some of the best seafood catering in the Baltimore area! You can also get your fill from Costas even when you’re not in our dining room: follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest, and YouTube!


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Costas Inn
5 stars - based on 699 reviews
4100 Northpoint Blvd. Baltimore , Maryland
410-477-1975 URL of Map Categories: Seafood Price Range: $$ Takes Reservations: yes
Costas Inn
5 stars - based on 695 reviews
4100 North Point Boulevard Baltimore , Maryland 21222
(410) 477-1975 URL of Map Categories: Seafood & Crabs Price Range: $$ Takes Reservations: yes