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.
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 About.com 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.
Clams are still alive when you freeze them and when thawed come back to life. That is how they live under water in the winter. They will be as good frozen as if you bought them from the seafood store. You can tell, once thawed, if they bounce back like a freshly shucked clam. I have had them for many years this way because we usually buy them by the bushel and cannot eat them all.
I had 6 doz fresh clams in fridge vegtable bin for 4 weeks by keeping a moist towel over top and little water on bottom, bottom clams froze to bin, thawed out and steamed all opened made clams casino , very good and tasty, so i suggest if any doubts do your own freeze test on a few fresh clams. Happy clams !!!