Can You Freeze Clams?

by Charlie

Clams seem to be quite boring and uninteresting, but cooking or eating them is an exciting experience. Clams are a type of shellfish that can be purchased almost anywhere in the world. Even if you don’t stay in a coastal area, you should give them a try. 

Clams can be eaten out of their shells or otherwise, there are various ways which clams can be prepared. Each one gives a very unique flavor. So if you have procured more clams than you could eat in a week or more, how do you preserve them.

Can you freeze clams? Yes, you can. Clams can be frozen and kept at the best quality for about 4 months. There are some special processes to ensure the safety of the clams while freezing them. Freezing cooked clams isn’t a great idea, as the freezing action damages the texture and affects taste. But, uncooked clams will freeze beautifully.

Clams are a delicacy that can be enjoyed, in different ways. You simply can’t go wrong with them. However, you have to take note of certain things. For example, uncooked clams contain bacteria that could make one very sick. So while fussing about what to do with your clams, you should take care to not consume them raw or undercooked. Although eating uncooked clams is quite common, there is always the danger of getting very sick from eating raw clams.

How to Freeze Clams

Freezing cooked clams could be a bit of a disaster, so it is advisable not to cook more clams than you can eat at a go or over a few days. The focus of this article would be on freezing uncooked clams as this is the best way to preserve them and keep them in an optimum condition that would not ruin the cooking or eating experience. There are two ways to freeze clams:

  1. Freezing Shucked Clams
  2. Freezing Clams in their Shells

Freezing Shucked Clams

This involves freezing the clam meat itself, out of their shells. So, let’s jump right into it.

Step 1: Shucking the Clams

This could be a little bit complex. But, it could be a lot of fun. Pick up the clams with a kitchen towel. Position the clam with the hinge of the shell facing you. Insert a sharp knife into the crack at the hinge and wedge it in. Once the knife has entrenched itself into the clam, twist it in an up and down motion to lever the clam open. 

There you have it! Repeat this process for as many clams as you want to freeze. 

Step 2: Wash the Clams

Clams are sea creatures, so they might have sand in them and maybe some undigested food particles. Washing clams is a very important part of the freezing process. No process is less important than the other as they all work towards keeping the clams in their best quality as they freeze. Washing the clams individually can ensure that they are clean.

Step 3: Storage and Freezing

Separate the clams into batches or packs that you can eat at a go. Put these batches into separate Ziploc bags or airtight freezer bags. Expel as much air as you can before sealing them.

With a sharpie, label the bags with the date of the freeze and the contents. This is important for effective organization and meal planning. It also helps you to keep track of what you have stored and for how long.

Freezing Clams in their Shells

This is the easier freezing process of the two. It takes almost no effort and can be done quickly if you’re pressed for time.

Step 1: Inspecting the Clams

Check all the clams you have on hand thoroughly. Any clam with a shell that is slightly open should be discarded because that means that it is dead. There is no point in freezing already dead clams. There is nothing to keep fresh.

Step 2: Clean the Clams

Wash the unshelled clams under cool running water to wash away any sand or debris on the surface of the shells. Rinse the clams thoroughly and drain them. You can pat them down with a kitchen towel to dry.

Step 3: Storage and Freezing

Put your clams into airtight freezer bags or containers. You can also use heavy-duty freezer bags or Ziploc bags. Suck out as much air as you can before sealing. You can do this with a straw. 

Label the bags, stating the contents and date of the freeze for meal planning purposes, and to also ensure that you eat the clams up before they start to lose quality from staying too long in the freezer.

How to Thaw Frozen Clams

Clams do not need a lengthy thawing time, unshelled clams can be left in the fridge for 6 to 8 hours to thaw at an even temperature. If you are pressed for time, you run cool water on them till it thaws. This also would take time.

Shucked clams can also be thawed in that manner. After the clams have been thawed, you can process to do as you wish with them. But, be careful to not consume them raw.

Do Clams Die when Frozen?

If your clams are still alive when you freeze them, when you thaw them, they just come back to life. The freezing process is similar to how they live underwater in the winter. Frozen clams are just as good as fresh clams.

Can You Eat Dead Clams?

Absolutely not. Do not eat clams that have died during freezing or storage. If your clams have a slightly opened shell that doesn’t snap shut when you tap it, or if it floats in water. All these indication points towards one fact, Dead clams. Discard such clams and don’t eat them.

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