can you freeze conch

Nothing beats the taste and texture of fresh shellfish. While you should try to eat fresh whenever possible, there comes a time when you just can’t finish all of the shellfish you ordered, or there is just too good of a deal to pass up, and you decide to order in bulk.

Luckily, there are various ways to freeze fresh shellfish that will help retain the flavor and texture of the food. Each type of shellfish has its unique freezing method to achieve the desired results.

At Fulton Fish Market we often get asked, “Can you freeze shellfish? And if so, how?” We will answer this question and provide some general tips to follow when freezing shellfish. Additionally, we will go into the specifics of how to freeze and thaw shellfish, specifically oysters, mussels, clams, and lobsters.

After thawing, I use an oyster knife and gently tug at the meat to break the muscle and free it from its shell housing; with a counterclockwise pull it comes out with its stomach and viscera attached. Likewise for conch salad, cocktail, or ceviche, freezing is ideal.
can you freeze conch

Freezing Fresh Oysters in Their Shells

Oysters can be frozen directly in their shells if done properly. Follow the steps below to safely freeze fresh oysters in their shell:

  • Thoroughly clean the oysters taking care to remove sand and mud from the shells.
  • Tap on the oyster shell to see if it closes or tightens. Any that do not close are no longer alive and should be discarded
  • Discard any oysters that do not close or those with broken shells.
  • Place oysters in an air-tight freezer bag and store them in the freezer.

This is the easier of the two ways to freeze oysters. The upside is other than checking to see if the oysters are alive, there is little to no work involved. The downside is that you will have to shuck the oysters after thawing them.

If you don’t have a lot of space in your freezer or want to save time later on, you can shuck the oysters before freezing them. This process is a little more time-consuming and requires more effort. To freeze shucked oysters, you will need to:

  • Tap on the oyster shell to see if it closes or tightens. Any that do not close are no longer alive and should be discarded.
  • Hold the oysters over a bowl when shucking it to ensure that you save the oyster liquor.
  • Separate the oyster liquor from the oyster meat.
  • Rinse the meat to remove any lingering residue by using a strainer.
  • Strain the oyster liquor to remove sand or dirt.
  • Place the oyster meat into a sealed plastic bag and completely submerge the oysters in the oyster liquor. If there is not enough liquor to cover the oysters, add a little bit of water.

It’s best to keep at least a half-inch of air in the bag to allow for expansion during the freezing process. It’s okay if you need to split the oysters up over two or more air-tight freezer bags. For instructions on how to shuck oysters, check out our How to Shuck Oysters blog.

How to Freeze Live Oysters

Live oysters are delicious, and you should eat them fresh whenever you have the opportunity. However, sometimes you have just too many oysters to eat at once. This is when freezing them comes in handy.

Before we discuss the methods for freezing oysters, it is important to note that you should never eat oysters raw once they have been frozen. Freezing the oysters kills them, making them unsafe to eat without cooking them after you thaw them.

There are two different ways to freeze oysters: in the shell and shucked.

Cleaning conch to bag and freeze


How long does conch last in freezer?

Store frozen conch up to three months and thaw in the refrigerator before using.

How do you tenderize a frozen conch?

To keep it tender, Bahamians like to use a meat tenderizer to pound the conch meat until it resembles a chicken cutlet. You can also use a rolling pin for this purpose. Another technique is to boil it in salted water for an hour–it will soften up as time passes.

How long to boil frozen conch?

Bring to a boil; add the conch and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.

Is it safe to eat raw conch?

To avoid conch poisoning, persons should avoid eating raw conch. When cooking conch, it should first be washed thoroughly under running, potable (fresh) tap water with intense rubbing of its surface to remove any slime and debris.

Can you freeze conch fritter batter?

Conch fritter batter can be frozen and used latter. To reuse, remove from freezer and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or until defrosted. Pour into large bowl and add 2 tsp of baking powder, mix until baking powder is blended in. If the consistency is off, adjust with flour or water as needed.

Where can I find frozen conch?

Finding conch ended up being a wild goose chase. The good news is that I’ve already scoped it out in Pittsburgh and found that Wholey’s in the Strip District carries a five-pound box of frozen conch. Conch fritters in the ‘Burgh, look out! If you can’t find conch, shrimp makes an excellent substitution.

How to make conch fritter?

Season with the cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt and combine. In a medium bowl with the conch mixture, add the flour mixture to the ground conch and mix till all are combined. If you are using some form of liquid pepper (Caribbean pepper sauce or a hot sauce), add it in now. Leave the conch fritter batter to sit while you get your oil heated.

How do you know if conch is fresh or frozen?

However, if you are unable to find fresh conch, frozen conch is still a good option. Just be sure to thaw it completely before cooking. Conch meat should be firm and white. Avoid conch that is mushy or has a yellow or brown tinge. Conch should have a mild, slightly sweet flavor. Avoid conch that has a strong or fishy smell.

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