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How to Store Fresh Shellfish

By Cook's Illustrated Published July 2017

Fresh shellfish need to be stored in as cold an environment as possible.

Our recipe for Linguine with Seafood calls for a variety of seafood, including clams and mussels. If you’re not cooking them right away, these and other fresh shellfish need to be stored in as cold an environment as possible. Note that clams and mussels should not come in contact with melted ice since submersion in fresh water can kill them. Because we recommend eating lobsters and crabs within 24 hours of purchase, we don’t bother putting them on ice, but they should not sit in fresh water, either.

CLAMS AND MUSSELS: Place in bowl, cover with layer of wet paper towels or newspaper to keep them moist, and set bowl in second bowl filled with ice; replenish ice as necessary.

SHELF LIFE: Up to one week for clams; up to three days for mussels.

SCALLOPS: Keep sealed in zipper-lock bag or other airtight container and place on bed of ice.

SHELF LIFE: Up to five days for dry scallops or up to one week for chemically treated (wet) scallops.

LOBSTERS AND CRABS: Refrigerate in breathable seafood bag supplied by fishmonger or in bowl, covered with wet paper towels or newspaper to keep them moist.

SHELF LIFE: Cook crabs and hard-shell lobsters within 24 hours; cook more-perishable soft-shell lobsters the same day you buy them.