Clams are a seafood delicacy. They are one of those foods that you can purchase globally but if you ever have the chance to eat them fresh on the coast, you should give it a try. Clams might be an acquired taste for some, but that’s probably just because they seem odd.
It’s not every day that you can eat food straight out of its shell. There are so many ways to prepare clams. Each preparation method gives them a unique flavor all their own. You simply can’t go wrong with clam creations.
You do have to be mindful of the risk of bacteria and certain processes. Preparing clams does take a bit of work and some attention to detail. You don’t want to consume raw or undercooked clams for the most part.
The question is, can you freeze your clams? Freezing is not recommended for cooked clams, but you can easily freeze your uncooked clams and save them for later. It’s not so hard to accomplish but there are some specific details you should know.
We’ve created a guide to walk you through all of the specific steps to freezing your clams. There are a lot of details to be aware of to ensure the safety of your clams. We will share with you everything you should know and understand to safely freeze uncooked clams.
Keep reading to learn all of the important information for freezing clams and working with them in general.
The Guide to Freezing Clams
Unfortunately, freezing cooked clams is not recommended. You’re welcome to give it a try because you can safely freeze them. However, most of the time the texture of the clam meat is jeopardized if you freeze them when they have been cooked.
If you try to freeze cooked clam meat, you could end up with soft or rubbery meat. You certainly don’t want to give up the taste and texture of your clams by freezing them after they are cooked.
If you know that you have more clams than you will be able to use, you should separate them out prior to cooking them so you don’t cook more than you will use. Additionally, if you have leftovers, you can store them in the fridge for 2-3 days and hopefully eat them in that time frame.
Raw clams are a common food served at both high-end restaurants and dive bars. Don’t get us wrong, they can certainly be tasty. They are commonly eaten this way. There are some very popular ways to slurp those raw clams, including adding hot sauce or chasing it with a shot.
There are just some things you should be aware of when working with raw clams.
Raw clams are susceptible to bacteria known as vibrio vulnificus. This bacterium can be found in raw clams and oysters.
Additionally, you cannot tell if your clams have this bacterium present but it can make a person very sick if they ingest it. Again, this is just a risk that is taken with consuming raw shellfish. It is not necessarily common.
We bring this to the surface just to make you aware. Quite often, cooking the clams would eliminate any trace of this bacteria, making that a much safer way to eat them.
Cooking with Clams
There are a lot of options for cooking clams.
For starters, you can boil, steam, or bake clams. You can season them and add them to a variety of dishes. You can even grill clams or come up with your own variety of ways to make them. So while they may seem boring, they are actually quite exciting.
Here are some ideas of things you can make with clams:
- Clam chowder
- Spaghetti or other forms of pasta with clams
- Add to pizza toppings
- Heat in butter and season with garlic
- Add to soup or broth
- Make up a good Cajun seafood boil with shrimp or prawns
- Fried clams
These are just a few suggestions for enjoying your clams but there is a multitude of options. You can search for any number of recipes and ideas. Many of these options involve removing the meat from the shell.
There are also some dishes where you cook the clam in the shell and the shell is then removed while you are eating the dish. You don’t eat the shell itself when you are feasting on clams.
Typically, if you are eating the clam straight from the shell, you would either sip it out of the shell or you would use your fingers.
To use your fingers, you pull the clam meat out of the shell, dip it if you please and place the entire piece in your mouth.
After the entire clam is in your mouth, you should chew it and eat it like any other type of food you could possibly consume.
Freezing is usually a simple process but when it comes to freezing clams there are several minor things to know.
For instance, we previously mentioned freezing cooked clams is not recommended. Because of this, our primary focus will be towards freezing raw and uncooked clams and the process that accompanies it.
You can freeze your clams using two different methods and either one works fine. You can either shuck the clams or freeze them in their shells. The primary difference that you might experience is that if you shuck the meat, it may make it softer when you use it.
However, it is perfectly safe either way and in the end, you should have great results either way when you cook those clams as well.
Freezing Clams in Their Shells
- Check your clams for open shells and discard any that are open. This is a sign that the clam has died.
- Place clams in a freezer bag or an airtight freezer-safe container.
- If using a freezer bag, remove excess air.
- Seal packaging, label, and date the clams.
- Clams frozen in their shells will last in the freezer up to 4 months.
If you freeze your clams in the shells, you will want to check them routinely before completely frozen to ensure none of the shells open prior to freezing. If this happens, you should remove the dead clam as soon as it is found.
Freezing Clams Out of Their Shells
- Remove clam meat from shells (shuck the clams).
- Clean the meat well by running it under cool water. You should wash each piece of meat individually to ensure you get it all cleaned.
- Place clam meat in a freezer bag or airtight container.
- Seal the storage device, date, and label your clam meat.
- Clam meat should store in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Using Clams After Freezing
Your clams really do not need excessive thawing time. They thaw rather quickly. If you shucked your clams prior to freezing them, you can actually go ahead and start preparing your dish with them straight from the freezer.
However, here are your options if you need to thaw your frozen clams out.
- Move your frozen clams to the refrigerator and allow them to thaw 6-8 hours or overnight.
- If you need a quick thawing method, you can run your bag of clams under cool water or place them in the sink and let cool water run over them. This could take quite a bit of time.
From here, you can proceed to cook your clams however you please. Your clams will be none the wiser that they were frozen and your meal will be just as delicious.
You can also rest assured that if you following these tips and processes, your clams will be perfectly safe for consumption.
We hope that you have found this guide to freezing clams to be a valuable resource for your purposes. There is a lot of information here and clams are food that sometimes you have to be careful with in order to ensure it is safe to eat when you are finished.
Below, you will find some common questions and answers that we receive and review. We invite you to check it out to see if there might be any further information that will be valuable to you.
Are Clams OK to Eat After They’ve Died?
Clams will die when you cook them. A clam dying does not necessarily mean that the clam is bad to eat.
However, a clam that is dead could potentially spread bacteria to other clams. This is why it’s recommended to remove dead clams from your frozen clam selection.
Are Clams Healthy Food?
Clams have a lot of nutrients in them, as is common with many seafoods. Clams, in particular, have high levels of zinc, iron, magnesium, and Vitamin B. Additionally, clams are high in protein and low in fat.