Freezing clams keeps them safe to eat indefinitely, allowing you to thaw and eat them at a later date. Refreezing further extends the shelf life of the clams, affording you the opportunity to thaw them another day. But, even when all of the rules of safe handling are followed, the practice of thawing and refreezing takes a toll on the clams after a while.
The safest way to thaw clams is in the refrigerator, where they remain free from bacterial overgrowth for several days. Simply transfer the clams from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before you plan to eat them. Place the clams in an airtight, water-tight plastic bag and thaw the clams in a bowl of ice water for quicker thawing, refrigerating immediately afterward. Microwave thawing is also an option for clams, provided you cook them immediately afterward.
Time in the Fridge
Once clams thaw in the refrigerator or are placed in the refrigerator after an ice-bath thaw, the countdown begins. Raw clams only survive two days in the refrigerator before bacteria renders the seafood unsafe to eat. If the clams were already cooked prior to thawing, they can remain in the refrigerator three days, tops. During this time it is necessary to decide whether you will cook, re-cook or refreeze the clams.
Refreezing Them Raw
Refreezing raw, thawed clams is safe as long as you do it within the two-day refrigerator storage window. Safety aside, thawing and refreezing does result in moisture loss and changes to texture and taste. Wrap the clams tightly in heavy-duty aluminum foil, freezer wrap, plastic storage bags or freezer storage containers. Although freezing keeps the clams safe to eat indefinitely, the quality of raw clams diminishes within three to four months.
Refreezing Them Cooked
Once cooked, thawed clams can safely remain in the refrigerator for two to three days, giving you an ample time to enjoy them as leftovers. If you do not plan to eat the cooked clams within this time frame, refreezing is an option. As with raw clams, cooked clams keep indefinitely when stored properly, but quality does diminish within three months of freezing.