If you are one of those people that miss the beach, you’ll probably crave some seafood. Clams in their shell are a delicious way of emulating that beach vibe, even when you’re living a highlander life. Furthermore, clams, like most sea products, are amazing nutrient providers. Each clam is an outstanding source of vitamin B12, omega-3, iron, proteins, choline, iodine, selenium, among many others compounds. On the negative side, they’re very allergenic, so people who are susceptible to be allergic to seafood should probably avoid it. Also, when eating raw clams, there’s always a chance to catch food poisoning since they are very attractive to a specific kind of bacteria called vibrio vulnificus (a causative agent of an illness known as cholera), but the risk is very small. As much as you like to eat clams, you may have bought too much and start wondering these questions. Can you freeze clams in their shells? How long does fresh clams last in the fridge? How to cook frozen clams in their shell?
Yes, provided that they were not cooked, you can freeze your fresh clams in their shells without risk of quality loss, even ones that you got straight from the sea and in their shell. Nevertheless, there are some steps you must take to freeze them well.
I wouldn’t encourage freezing cooked clams, although theoretically, you could. The reason for this is that cooked clams don’t react well to the freezer and turn squishy.
The first thing you need to pay attention to is the shells. They need to be closed. When a clam dies, the shell opens up and does not close when tapped. Dead clams start to build up toxins over time that are very dangerous for consumption.
After the opened clams are discarded, grab the ones that are still alive and transfer these live clams to an airtight freezer bag or container, remove excess air and seal them. Afterward, store them in the freezer and check from time to time to see if any of the shells open up before they’re completely frozen. If they do not close shortly after or upon tapping, throw them out.
Make sure to save clams in single-serving portions to avoid the arduous task of having to partially thaw the whole bulk, just to grab the ones you’ll use on a given day.
If frozen in their shell, the taste and texture should remain roughly the same as fresh clams, without any noticeable change or impact. However, after their due preservation period, the quality will start degrading.
You can refreeze clams, provided they’ve not died and they’re frozen over the next 2 days after fridge storage. However, the texture will likely be affected due to the moisture released during thawing.
Raw clams in their shells can last in the fridge for a maximum period of 2 days, with the fridge set to 40º F or lower. After that time, it’s better to throw them in the bin.
In the freezer set to 0º F or below, the clams can last 3 months in good quality, and beyond that time they’ll still be relatively safe to eat.
Withdraw the frozen container from the freezer and shove the frozen clams in the refrigerator to thaw slowly and without exposure to aggressive bacterial activity. You also have the option of immersing the container in cold water (remembering to change the water constantly until defrosting is complete). Alternatively, you can empty the containers into a bowl and place them under cold running water.
If you are under time constraints, place the clams in a microwave and set it to defrost. In that case, you should cook them as soon as possible to avoid bacterial buildup.
Don’t leave them thawing on the counter. I can’t stress this enough!
Most fish are able to be cooked from frozen. However, it’s highly recommended to thaw the frozen clams beforehand. Once thawed, you can use them in a wide variety of recipes such as soups, broths, casseroles, baked and steamed meals, etc.