Storing and Freezing Shellfish

Shellfish are highly perishable and it is best to use them within 24 hours of purchase. They need to be handled carefully before cooking to keep them fresh or alive. The most important factor is to keep the shellfish in a cold, moist environment. Keep fresh or thawed shellfish as close to 32 degrees Fahrenheit as possible. Store shrimp and shucked shellfish in a leak-proof bag or covered container in the refrigerator.

Store live shellfish in a shallow dish covered with a damp towel. If available, you may also wish to keep the shellfish covered with seaweed. Never put live shellfish in an airtight container or fresh water, since they can suffocate and die. Some shells may open during storage. If so, tap them. They will close if still alive.

Shellfish can be stored in the freezer for 3 to 6 months. The longer shellfish is stored in the freezer, the greater the loss of flavor, texture, and moisture.

Check out the next section for a handy seafood buying chart.

Want more information? Try these:
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article. 
  • How to Cook Fish: There are several different ways to prepare fish, and most of them are quite easy to master. In this article, you'll find tips for many of the methods, including poaching, baking, and pan-frying.
  • Shellfish Recipes: Dive into the many amazing shellfish recipes featured in this article.
  • Oysters: Oysters are often eaten raw, so it's best to know to properly clean and shuck them. Learn how at HowStuffWorks.