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Feb 16, 2007 02:33 PM

Clam storage emergency

I just purchased a dozen clams, but I won't be using them for another 2 hours. Are they in danger of dying before I cook them, and, if so, how do I store them until needed?


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  1. I'd put them in some water in the fridge in a bowl and add a sprinkling of flour.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      I don't understand the flour part. Why would you put flour on them? Clams keep just fine in the fridge in a bowl- without water. Clams are salt water bivalves and fresh water could kill them

      1. re: MeffaBabe

        The flour encourages the clams to open and close (for "food") thereby releasing more of the grit. It's a cleaning issue, not a storage issue.

    2. No need to worry. Just put them in a plastic bag or container in the fridge with a little opening for air and they'll be fine for at least a couple of days, let alone 2 hours. No ice directly. That'll kill them.

      1 Reply
      1. re: oakjoan

        Great, thanks.

        With respect to cleaning, I've been told to submerge the clams in an ice-water bath (any chemists in the house?), about 20 minutes before cooking. The clams will expel dirt and sand into the bath, and then I can just pick the clean clams out.

      2. yepper just refrigerate them.

        1. A few hours in the fridge, no problem. To keep longer, put ice in the bottom of a container and clams on top, then cover loosely and put the container in the fridge. Drain off water a couple times a day and add more ice if needed. The clams will be ok on top of the ice, but don't let them get submerged. It's the fresh water, not the contact with the ice that will kill them (at least I've never killed them that way). Same method works for oysters and mussels.

          A sprinkling of flour???

          3 Replies
          1. re: Zeldog

            Julia Child used flour in the same way to clean mussels in MTAOFC, so I think it should work the same way with clams.

            1. re: Adin Collver

              This is a rather old thread (2007) and you may or may not get a response from the poster.

              This is the first time I've read this thread and I'm just appalled to read that posters would even think about soaking or submerging their clams in fresh water.

              Today's mussels are largely farmed and very clean, unless you pick your own (wild) ones. At the time Julia wrote her book, mussels were wild; there's no need to sprinkle farmed mussels with flour or cornmeal or anything. I never considered cleaning wild mussels in this manner. A little grit won't kill you.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                I think the idea of the flour, besides cleaning, was to plump up the little guys too...kind of a sad little last meal :(... so it probably wouldn't hurt. I did it with clams and they were quite tasty. Who knows if the flour actually made a difference. Living in Las Vegas which is far from any super fresh shellfish, I am willing to take any precautions when cooking with them. Then again, if they are contaminated, there's nothing I can do to change that.

          2. Clams are good for at least a week (we're talking that you know they just came out of the water) and oysters are good for at least a month. OK let's say 2 weeks before anyone gets hysterical. I hear that they used to harvest oysters in the fall and bury them under straw outside for the whole winter, no problem. It's not as critical as you think. They'll let you know if they're dead.
            Oh and I sprinkle mine with cornmeal so they throw off the grit, but more soft shell than hard shell clams, and never oysters.