Buying & Handling


When purchasing live clams, mussels, and oysters, look for:

  • Tightly-closed shells (mussels may gape slightly but should close when tapped; oysters should always be tightly closed)
  • Clean, unbroken, moist shells (mussels should have beards)
  • Fresh scent (not a strong fishy odor)

Refrigerate live clams, mussels, and oysters covered with a moist cloth in an open container for up to 5 days. Do not store live shellfish in water or in airtight bags or containers where they could suffocate and die. Storing live shellfish in salt water shortens their shelf life. Storing them in fresh water kills them. Keep live shellfish alive. Do not cook or eat shellfish that have died during storage.

When purchasing shucked clams, oysters, and scallops look for:

  • Plump meats in clear liquor (juices) without shell particles or grit (liquor should not exceed 10 percent of total volume)
  • Fresh oceanlike scent (not sour or sulfur-like)
  • Scallops that are firm and moist, retaining their shape when touched

To Store: Refrigerate shucked clams, oysters, and scallops covered in their liquor for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.