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I have some live clams in the refrigerator that I would like to freeze because I will not be able to use them in time. My question is, how will I know which are good when I steam them later. Will they open up like live clams even if frozen and will the bad ones stay closed? Otherwise, how can I tell which are good when cooked? Thank you.

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2 Answers 2


Do not freeze clams in their shells. To freeze clams, shuck them, being careful to save their liquid. Rinse with salt water (1 tablespoon of salt to 1 quart of water), and place in a container with the reserved clam liquid and additional salt water so they are completely covered. Frozen clams will last up to 3 months at 0 degrees F. Thaw frozen clams in the refrigerator before using, and never refreeze them.

While is not always the best, in this case their information passes the gut test. Frozen clams certainly would be killed, and so wouldn't open upon steaming.

The thing about never refreeze is almost certainly a palatability issue, not a safety issue, as long as they stay in the safe zone (under 40 degrees F) and are not unfrozen for very long--but clams are highly perishable. I would exercise considerable safety.

Sadly, I found conflicting information saying freezing them in the shell is okay--but they didn't offer any detail at all, so I its hard to give credence to:

despite their being a university sponsored site.

Being conservative, I would cook then freeze.

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People you need to be carefull who you listen to about how to eat frozen shellfish,the best way to eat clams frozen is to boil them frozen for sure they will still open but just as good as live. clam man

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"People you need to be carefull who you listen to about how to eat frozen shellfish..." -> So how would we know that we can trust you? Could you "flesh out" your answer a bit, please? – Stephie Oct 27 at 7:23

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