How to Freeze Steamer Clams

By Roxanne McHenry

Freshly dug steamer clams are a summer tradition for many coastal towns. Unfortunately, the steamer clam harvest and eating season is short. However, the solution to this dilemma is surprisingly simple: freeze them. Depending on how you plan to cook the clams after thawing -- you may freeze steamer clams directly in the shell or opt to pre-cook them -- shuck and clean them before freezing. Either way, freezing a few extra quarts of clams is easy and extends the enjoyment of eating steamer clams for weeks -- well beyond the summer season.

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Live clams from the seafood market

Scrub the Shells

Step 1

Place live steamer clams in the bottom of a sink and rinse them well with fresh water.

Step 2

Scrub the outside of the clam shells with a scrub brush to remove excess sand and debris

Step 3

Rinse the steamer clams again with fresh water, and place the cleaned steamers into a 5-gallon bucket.

Step 4

Mix a 3-percent brine solution using a ratio of 1/2 cup of brine to 1 gallon of fresh water.

Step 5

Cover the steamers with the 3-percent brine/water solution.

Step 6

Soak the steamer clams in the brine solution for several hours to allow the clams to expel any grit or sand still inside of them.

Step 7

Pour the brine and clams into the sink and rinse the clams again.

Freeze in the Shell

Step 1

Place the cleaned, live steamer clams -- with the shell on -- into a plastic freezer bags, removing as much excess air from the bag as possible.

Step 2

Label the bags with the date, using a permanent marker.

Step 3

Place the clams into the freezer; freeze them for three to six months at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pre-Cook and Freeze

Step 1

Add water to the bottom of the steamer pot according to the manufacturer's directions.

Step 2

Place the rinsed steamer clams into the steamer basket inside the steamer pot.

Step 3

Steam the clams for one to five minutes or until the shells open, then remove the cooked clams and place them in a colander to cool, using a slotted spoon.

Step 4

Shuck the precooked clams from the shell using your fingers; discard the clam shells.

Step 5

Peel the dark skin off of the clam necks, then remove the oval-shaped stomach and dark contents, which can include phytoplankton, microalgae and sediment.

Step 6

Discard all the neck skin and clam stomachs after removal.

Step 7

Place the shucked steamer clams into plastic freezer bags and ladle some of the clam juice from the bottom of the steamer pot into the bags.

Step 8

Remove as much excess air as possible from the freezer bags and seal them; label the bags with the date, using a permanent marker.

Step 9

Place the clams into the freezer; freeze them for three to six months at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.