I bought clams yesterday they were all closed.

I put them in room temperature water overnight (with 3% salt). Not in fridge.

Now 50% are open. 50% have their tongues hanging out.

The main question I have is once they are dead - what is the length of time in which they are ok to eat.

From what I read the ones with tongues hanging out are ok to eat. How about the ones that are open? Are they ok to eat? They have only been open for around 10 hours or so.

  • 2
    For future reference, do not store clams in water. Store in a container that permits airflow and will keep them damp, and put in the fridge. That should keep them alive for a few days. In stagnant water, they'll use the dissolved oxygen and then suffocate.
    – mpez0
    Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 21:31

1 Answer 1


Clams are exceedingly perishable; there is no length of time after they are dead that you should eat them. They should always be killed as part of the cooking process.

They may open (they are naturally filter feeders, and open to try and feed and respire), but if tapped should close indicating they are still alive. If they don't close, discard.

Clams do not have tongues. They have a siphon, and a foot--not sure which you are referring to. The siphon is normally trimmed off if it is large, but the foot may be edible (although sometimes tough and not palatable) depending on the type of clam.

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