Do Frozen Clams Open When Thawed?

Unless you are a clam connoisseur, you may not know this fun fact about clams! 

It’s true: frozen clams will open easily when they are thawed under warm water.

This is also a sign that your clams are still good. If your clams are already open or dried out before you thaw them, they’re no good.

Why Does it Happen?

Clams are only truly good when they are cooked fresh. Yes, this means alive. Frozen clams are also still alive and fresh since clams freeze in the winter in nature and revive when the water melts.

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In your kitchen, the warm water loosens the muscles of the clam meat and causes it to open. This is what should happen and means that your clam is good. If the clam does not open easily, it should be discarded.

Thawed frozen clams are truly as good as fresh! If you are making mussels instead of clams, take a look at this guide to reheating mussels.

How to Thaw Clams

  1. Remove the clams from the freezer and place them in the refrigerator to thaw for 24 hours.
  2. You can also speed the thawing process by running the clams under warm water. Watch to make sure they open easily.
  3. Cook and eat after they are thawed. Do not refreeze them.

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Are My Clams Still Good?

If it fits these descriptions, you are good to go.

  1. The clam has an unbroken shell that is closed while frozen or prior to cooking. 
  2. The clam’s meat is a light tan color with a firm texture. It should also smell fresh and light. If the meat is dried or acrid in smell, it should be discarded.
  3. If alive: the clam’s shell should close when tapped.
  4. If thawed from frozen: the clam’s shell should open easily when thawed under warm water.
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Ready to Explore

Now you know what to look for in your clams!

If you are thawing frozen clams, watch to see if they will open easily under warm water. Many recipes call for clams, so your knowledge of how thawed clams should behave will be a great help!

Good luck with your next great food adventure!