Can You Freeze Clams?

Clam is an edible shellfish that’s popular around the world. Due to their sweet taste, clams can be used for a variety of dishes. Once you’ve bought or harvest clams yourselves, they need to be eaten right away or properly stored. Would freezing be an option to store the clams?

Can you freeze clams? Yes, you can freeze clams. Clams can be frozen in the shell or shucked. Before freezing them, you need to follow the proper procedures for handling and preparing them. These shellfish are highly perishable and can easily spoil. If they do, they will be contaminated by bacteria which could cause health issues if ingested.

What Type Of Clams Can You Freeze

Almost any type of clams can be stored in the freezer. Clams in shells and shucked clams are great for storage in the freezer.

It’s best to use fresh live clams to store in the freezer. You can store them in the shells or shuck. Doing so will keep the meat fresh and plump when it thaws.

You can also freeze cooked clams, but it’s not recommended. Once they are cooked and frozen, they will end up soft and rubbery.

Safe Handling of Raw Clams

Raw clams are susceptible to bacteria known as vibrio vulnificus. This bacterium is found mostly in shellfish such as raw clams, cockles, and oysters.

What makes these bacteria dangerous is that they are not visible just by looking at them. If it’s ingested, you can get very sick from it. This is the risk of consuming raw shellfish.

To eliminate the possibility of this harmful bacteria, you can cook the clams. This will kill the bacteria and make it much safer to eat.

Can You Freeze Dead Clams?

It depends on how and when the clams died. If you’ve bought them or harvest them while they are still alive, but then they died, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad. As long as it hasn’t been a couple of hours in hot temperature, you should be fine freezing dead clams.

However, if you’re unsure when the clams died, it’s recommended to not freeze them.  Like most other shellfish, clams are highly perishable and when they die, the shellfish will have harmful bacteria growing on them quickly.


Can You Freeze Clams


How Long Can You Freeze Clams?

Frozen clams will stay fresh for up to 3 months at a steady temperature of 0 degrees F. If the freezer is opened and closed often, the temperature will fluctuate. This could cause the clams to not last 3 months as they should.

After 3 months, frozen clams can still be eaten, but the quality of them will deteriorate slightly.

How to Freeze Clams

There are two methods of freezing clams. You can either freeze them in their shell or freeze just the meat only.

Below are the instructions on how to freeze clams:

Freezing Clams In Their Shell

If you choose to keep the clams in their shells, make sure that the shell is completely closed. An open shell means the clams are either dead or it’s going bad.

  1. Start by rinsing the clams in cold water. If the clams are dirty, take a brush and gently brush the sand and other debris off.
  2. Place the clams into a colander and let it drip-dry.
  3. Using a paper towel, gently pad the clams to remove any excess water.
  4. Place the clams into an airtight container or freezer bag.
  5. If using a freezer bag, press on it to remove as much air from the bag as possible.
  6. Seal the bag tight. If using an airtight container, place the lid on it and make sure it’s sealed tight.
  7. Label the bag or container with the freezing date and place them into the freezer.

Clams in shells can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Freezing Clams Out Of Their Shells

Freezing shucked clams is a great way to save space in the freezer.

  1. Start by shucking the clams.
  2. Under cold running water, wash the clam meat thoroughly.
  3. Place the clam meat into a colander and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
  4. Using a paper towel, gently pat the meat to remove any excess water.
  5. On a clean tray, lay a sheet of wax paper.
  6. Place the clam meat onto the tray, keeping them spaced out between each other.
  7. Put the tray of clam meat into the freezer for about 1-2 hours.
  8. Once it’s completely frozen, immediately transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag.
  9. For the freezer bag, press on the bag to remove as much air in the bag as you can and seal it tight.
  10. Label the bag or container with the freezing date and place it into the freezer.

Shucked clams can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.

How Do You Defrost Clams?

Clams don’t require excessive thawing time. These shellfish thaws rather quickly due to their texture. If you shucked the clams before freezing them, there’s no need to thaw them. They can actually be added to the meal you’re cooking straight from the freezer.

If the clams are frozen in the shell, below are a couple of options to thaw them.

  1. Transfer the clams to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight or for at least 6-8 hours. This is the best way to thaw frozen clams as the texture and flavor loss will be minimal.
  2. If you need to thaw clams quickly, you can place the bag of clams under running water that’s cool. Another option would be to place the bag of clams into a bowl of cool water. Change the water every 10 minutes to help thaw them faster. Never use hot water on the clams, or you’ll destroy the flavor and texture of it.

Can You Refreeze Clams?

It’s never a good idea to refreeze clams. Doing so will damage the texture and have a loss of flavor.

Clams are very delicate and once they are frozen, their meat will expand a bit, thus making it soft. When you thaw them, they will become softer and lose a bit of their flavor.

By refreezing the clams again, the texture will be damaged and the flavor will deteriorate greatly. When you thaw the clams, you’ll end up with soft, mushy, and bland tasting clams.

Related Questions

Can you freeze clam chowder?

Yes, clam chowder can be frozen. Due to their texture, the chowder will freeze well and last a long time in the freezer as well. To freeze clam chowder, place them into an airtight container. During freezing, the clam chowder will slightly expand. Therefore, keep about an inch of space at the top to allow expansion of the chowder.

Can you freeze clam sauce?

Yes, you can freeze clam sauce. The sauce can either be frozen with fresh or canned clams in it.

To clam the sauce, place it into an airtight container or freezer bag. When filling, leave about an inch of space at the opening. Clam sauce will expand a bit when it starts to freeze. If not, it will break the container or freezer bag and spill all over the freezer.

When you’re ready to use clam sauce, thaw the sauce in warm water. It will thaw and be ready for your pasta within an hour. You may need to add some more garlic to give it more taste

Can you freeze clam juice?

Yes, you can freeze clam juice. It’s recommended to freeze clam juice as an ice cube. Simply pour the clam juice into the ice cube tray. Then put the tray into the freezer for about 2-3 hours. Once it’s completely frozen, take it out of the freezer and immediately transfer the ice cube clam juice into an airtight container or freezer bag. Label the bag with the freezing date and place it back into the freezer.

When you need clam juice, simply take as much clam juice ice cube from the freezer and add it directly to the dish.