Boiled Muskles (Mussels)

To boile Muskles.
Take water and yest, and a good dish of butter, and Onions chopt, and a lyttle pepper, & when it hath boyled a litle while, then see that your Muskels bee cleane washed, then put them into the broth shels and all, and when they be boiled wel, then serue them broth and all.
Thomas Dawson, The Good Huswife’s Jewell, 1596.

Take water and [brewing dregs], and a good dish of butter, and chopped onions, and a little pepper, and when it has come to the boil, then see that your mussels are washed and clean, and put them into the broth shells and all, and when they be well cooked, then serve them broth and all.


1 kg cleaned and bearded mussels 125 mL water
1 onion 125 mL brewing dregs
100mL butter 1/2 tsp pepper


  1. Discard any mussels that are slightly open.
  2. Combine the brewing dregs, water, onion, butter and pepper in a heavy bottomed pot, and bring to the boil.
  3. When the steaming liquid is boiling, put the mussels in the pot and put the lid on.
  4. After about 5 minutes check the mussels. Any that have opened are ready to eat; discard any that haven’t opened.
  5. Serve immediately.


  • “Yest” is the frothy, watery dregs left at the end of brewing beer. If you aren’t fortunate enough to know a bunch of historical brewers, use a good quality wheat beer.


Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Black, Maggie. The Good Housewife’s Jewel.


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