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Are these clams still useable?

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I purchased a 5 lb bag of LIVE clams at costco today. When we got home my hubby emptied the car and shoved the clams in the freezer by mistake. It wasn't until late tonight when we realized what he'd done. I'm wondering if these once-live, now frozen clams are still useable and if so, how do I use them? I figured they were ruined but wanted to check before tossing them.


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  1. I found this info on google...


    Clams in the shell and shucked clams may be frozen. To prepare clams in the shell for freezing, scrub clams under cool water to remove mud and grit. The shells of frozen clams open easily when held under warm water. Clam meats can be frozen also, but when thawed, the texture of the meat is softer and is more often prepared cooked.

    Clams should be frozen quickly and kept at a temperature of 0 o F or lower. Rapid freezing results in less tissue damage. Freezer bags and plastic containers with lids are preferred for freezing. Clams should be frozen in their own liquor or water, and excess air should be removed from the containers to prevent freezer burn. Frozen clam meats should always be thawed in the refrigerator for 24 hours and not be refrozen.

    1. depends on your plans for them... chowder? casino? clam sauce?

      i'd try steaming a couple open to check the texture before i plowed ahead. they're certainly not ruined, but will be different.

      1. What kind of clams are they? Pacific razor clams and geoducks need to be cleaned (stomachs removed) before using, so freezing them live would be a terrible mistake.

        1. I can only talk about hard shell clams but as long as you are cooking them then it is fine.

          I always partially freeze hardshell clams before shucking them, it makes it easier.

          Also I make huge batches of stuffed clams and then freeze them and bake the frozen clams for quick serving later.

          1. My concern is that once we cook them, we won't know which clams were dead before they were put in the freezer. Will the "good" clams still open if we steam them?

            It was our plan to make clam sauce, but maybe we'd be better off making stuffed clams or something like that.

            1. I wouldn't eat them. You have to assume that at least some of them were dead and therefore bad and there is no way to tell now. Price of lost clams is much lower than price of lost holiday weekend.

              2 Replies
              1. re: JudiAU

                Any clams that are partially open were dead before the freezing. If they are fully closed they were healthy before the freezing.

                1. re: JMF

                  Clams have a tendency to open while freezing. if a clam doesn't open when steaming then they are not good and you need to toss them. You can actually rinse the clams coming out of the freezer, thereby cleaning them of dirt.

              2. Well, we used the clams. My dad couldn't stand throwing them away so he decided to steam them and try them out. They did fare pretty well and all of the clams opened when steamed. He used them in clam sauce and it turned out just fine. I couldn't tell any difference, although I was pretty nervous that I was going to get sick later that night. Thankfully none of us did!