Clams are one of the most popular and most consumed molluscs within the Mediterranean diet. It’s not surprising, as they are healthy, packed with essential nutrients and easy to prepare. However, in order to properly preserve clams, you must take into account a series of considerations.
So, do you know how to preserve clams properly? We’ll tell you the best tricks to enjoy different types of clams at their freshest and how to choose them at the market.
How to tell if clams are fresh
To identify fresh clams you need to engage all your senses. It is crucial to ensure they are in good condition as they can cause food poisoning. To choose a fresh product you should pay attention to their appearance, smell, and texture. Fresh clams should have a clean and moist appearance, without any spots or unusual odours. To determine if they are fresh, you should look for the following points:
The shells should be whole and without any cracks. If there are any breaks, pathogenic microorganisms and bacteria can enter the mollusc and contaminate it. Additionally, the shells of fresh clams have a shiny appearance.
It’s essential that clams are either closed or close when lightly touched. If a clam is open and doesn’t close when touched, it means it’s dead and consuming it could be dangerous.
The smell provides significant clues about the freshness of all seafood products. Clams should smell like the sea and the odour shouldn’t be too strong or aggressive. If you detect an ammonia odour, even if it’s faint, discard the clams.
Wash the clams in plenty of salted water. If any clam opens during the washing process, discard it, as it may be contaminated.
If after cooking the clams, you see that some haven’t opened, do not force them open. Remove those clams from the dish. The rest of the clams are not affected by the ones that have stayed closed and if they have opened, you can safely consume them.
How Long do Clams Last
Ideally, you should consume clams as soon as possible after purchase to make the most of their organoleptic and nutritional qualities.
However, if you need to store them they can last up to three days in the refrigerator, provided you take certain precautions and have maintained the cold chain. Make sure to use an insulated bag when buying seafood, fish, or any fresh product. This way, clams won’t undergo sudden temperature changes which reduces the risk.
If they aren’t going to be consumed within those three days, we recommend freezing them. Once frozen, clams can last for 6 to 8 months. However, it’s important to note that the texture and flavour may decrease over time, so it’s best to consume them as soon as possible.
Tips for storing clams in the refrigerator
Storing clams in saltwater is a common trick. Besides helping them stay fresh, the saltwater helps them release any sand they may contain inside.
However, if you want to know how to store clams in the refrigerator in a much more more effective way, try this method:
As soon as you get home, wrap them in their mesh bag in damp paper towels or in a clean, damp cloth and place them in the refrigerator in the least cold area to prevent them from dying. This will help keep them fresh and moist.
Avoid exposing them to direct light or warm air, as this can dehydrate them and accelerate their deterioration.
A couple of hours before cooking, take the clams out of their mesh bag and soak them in cold water with plenty of salt. Return them to the refrigerator until it’s time to cook.
By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to enjoy clams without compromising food safety.
Clams, a very healthy mollusc
Clams are a low-calorie and low-fat food, but rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals. They are perfect for incorporating into your regular diet, due to their interesting nutritional properties.
Firstly, they are an excellent source of protein, with a content ranging from 15 to 20 percent protein per 100 grams. Additionally, they are a good source of B vitamins, especially vitamin B12, which is important for red blood cell production and the nervous system. In terms of mineral content, clams are rich in iron, zinc, iodine, and selenium, which are crucial for immune system function and thyroid hormone production.
Storing clams at home is easier with the tricks that we’ve told you. However, if you prefer, at Chao Pescao Seafood we serve our clams directly from the fish market to your plate. Enjoy all the flavours of the sea in our restaurants, with the peace of mind that you’re getting the freshest product, expertly prepared just for you.