Quahogs are a mollusk sometimes referred to as "hard clams" or "little necks" because of their size. Prevalent in the waters from Cape Cod to New Jersey, these tasty tidbits are enjoyed raw, steamed or as the basis for a chowder. Though often enjoyed fresh, quahogs may be frozen raw or after they've been cooked.
It is important that you properly store live quahogs in the refrigerator before freezing. If you don't, live quahogs become too warm and will die, which may pose a risk of bacterial food-borne illness. After purchasing, store live quahogs in a bowl with a wet towel over top for up to two days. Do not place them in an airtight container, as they will suffocate. Live quahogs should not be submerged in fresh water, as that will cause them to die as well. If your quahogs have already been shucked, store them in their own juices in an airtight container for up to seven days before moving to the freezer.
Quahogs that are still in the shell should be scrubbed with a shellfish brush to remove any dirt and debris. Place the quahogs in an airtight container or sealable freezer bag and place inside your freezer. Though quahogs will keep indefinitely at zero degrees Fahrenheit, use them within three months for optimal taste.
After cleaning the outside of the shells with a brush to remove any excess dirt and sediment, hold the quahogs momentarily under warm running water. Their shells will open, allowing you to easily shuck with a shellfish knife. Retain as much of the shellfish juice as possible. Freeze and store the shucked quahogs in an airtight container or heavy duty freezer bag for up to three months. Before sealing the bags, try to press as much of the air out as possible.
If you happen to have leftover quahogs after cooking, you may freeze those as well. Whether they're in a pasta dish, chowder or steamed, the freezing method is similar. Place the leftovers in an airtight container or sealable bag once the dish as cooled. After removing any excess air, transfer to the freezer.
Whether you're working on a recipe for scrumptious stuffed clams with a butter cracker filling or getting ready to make a savory seafood chowder, you want to make sure you've properly defrosted your quahogs. After removing the quahogs in their container or sealable bag from the freezer, place in the fridge for about 24 hours until they are completely thawed. If they are still in the shell, run them under warm water to aid in the shucking process. If they are out of the shell, simply strain away any excess juices and add them to your recipe.