Can you freeze Clam Chowder? Info and Tips
Clam Chowder is a famous American dish! However, it is made in different types all over the world. In this post, we will give the detailed answer to the question – can you freeze Clam Chowder and why it cannot be frozen completely.
Clam Chowder is tricky to be frozen due to the ingredients it is made up of.
Nothing beats a hot Clam Chowder on a rainy day. Clam Chowder can make a full meal, but people prefer it as a starter or a snack. Chowder is basically any vegetable soup served with a creamy and thick base.
Clam Chowder is usually served hot with saltine crackers or oyster crackers, making it a perfect dish for any meal. There are many variations to make Clam Chowder, but the most prominent ones are:
- England’s white Clam Chowder
- Manhattan’s red Clam Chowder
- Rhode Island’s clear Clam Chowder
Clam Chowder is pretty delicious, but it is very tricky to freeze it. This is because the ingredients in the soup play a key role in keeping the dish together. So, let’s figure out the best way to freeze it!
What is Clam Chowder?
Clam Chowder originated in the United States, and it’s very famous among the many soups of American cuisine with clams. The Clam Chowder comprises diced potatoes, salted pork, clams, vegetables, and onions.
The Clam Chowder has a thick base that gives a fine flavor to the dish. The thick base is thickened with skimmed milk, rich milk cream, sweet cheese, white flour, and crushed pilot biscuits. The base can vary depending on the type of vegetables and the flavor of the Clam Chowder.
The traditional Clam Chowder uses heavy milk cream, which is really sensitive to freezing temperature and breaks the dish. Therefore, it is vital to understand that seafood should never be stored too long in the freezer.
Clam Chowder is made up of different ingredients based on the region and the type of soup made. But the common ingredients used in Clam Chowder are rich milk cream, potato, bacon, onions, unsalted butter, salt, carrots, parsley, celery, clam juice, thyme, or dried thyme, white flour, milk, black pepper, bay leaves, garlic, and clams.
The ingredients of Clam Chowder give high nutritional value. One cup of Clam Chowder with 2 percent of milk contains almost 154 calories has 18.8 grams of carbohydrates, 8.16 grams of protein, 5.09 of fat, and 0.10 grams of fiber.
Can Clam Chowder be frozen?
Answering the key question here, Clam Chowder can be frozen but not for too long. Therefore, if you are saving it up for another day, make sure the freezing temperature is low. It can be frozen max up to 12 hours, but the dish’s ingredients will get spoiled after that, as the seafood is not apt for freezing.
The cream used would be the first one to get affected by the freezing temperature. It would ferment and ruin the clams in the dish. If you use considerably less cream in your soups, you have more possibilities of not spoiling your Clam Chowder for two days.
Sometimes clams are mixed later after making the base. In that case, you can separate the two and refrigerate them rather than freezing them. Putting the dish in the fridge helps you to keep the consistency and taste without any changes.
What are the types of Clam Chowder?
Clam Chowder is a fantastic dish to experiment with different vegetables and cream bases. The texture, the taste, and the flavor vary from region to region. So you better make sure to order the correct version of Clam Chowder in the restaurant! Let’s look into a few famous Clam Chowder versions!
- New England Clam Chowder
The New England Clam Chowder often referred to as the Boston style Clam Chowder, is a pure milk cream-based chowder. This base is thicker and has a richer texture than other regional styles of Clam Chowder.
The England Clam Chowder comprises milk, butter, potatoes, salt pork, onion, and clams. Since it is milk-based, this Clam Chowder is not advisable to be frozen. Instead, you can put it in the fridge for a max of 12 hours at normal temperature.
White flour is added as the thickener, and the soup has huge amounts of oyster crackers. The oyster crackers can either be crushed and mixed or garnished.
It is pretty easy to make an England Clam Chowder. Here is a quick recipe for it:
- 2 cups of water
- 4 cups of peeled potatoes
- 2 tbs of salt
- Black pepper for taste
- 3 cups of half and half
- 3 tbs of butter
- 10 ounces or 2 cans of minced clams
- Place the diced bacon in a large stockpot and cook it till it’s crisp in medium flame.
- Pour water, potatoes, salt, and pepper into it and cook for 10 minutes. Bring it to a boil and make sure your potatoes are tender.
- Pour your half and half and butter on it. Then, take the clams and drain them.
- Put the clams and ½ of the clam liquid into the soup. Cook it for ten mins and remember not to boil it.
- Let it thicken and garnish with a parsley leaf. Then, your New England Clam Chowder is ready to serve!
- Manhattan Clam Chowder
Manhattan Clam Chowder is just the opposite of New England Clam Chowder. There is no milk or rich cream in the base. Instead, this soup is made with rich tomatoes and other vegetables like celery and carrots to make a mirepoix. Dry thyme is used to season the soup.
Manhattan Clam Chowder is pretty famous, and it makes the best soup for sore throats and stomach upsets. It is widespread to find a New Yorker grabbing a Manhattan Clam Chowder for a meal! Since this Clam Chowder has no milk or cream, it is easy to freeze.
The next time you use it after freezing, add a little water and let them cook for some time, and It’s ready to eat! Here are quick steps to make a Manhattan Clam Chowder:
- 2 tbs of olive oil
- 1 chopped onion
- 2 celery stalks chopped
- 7 cloves of garlic
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- ¼ cup of tomato paste
- 3 sprigs parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large waxy style potato
- 5 cups clam juice
- Two huge tomatoes chopped roughly
- 2 cups of minced clams drained
- Salt and pepper
- Heat olive oil in a big pan and add onion, celery, garlic, crushed pepper and cook them for 8 minutes.
- Add tomato paste and cook it. Once the vegetables are soft and well cooked, add parsley sprigs, fresh thyme, and bay leaf with potatoes.
- Pour the clam juice and let it boil for ten mins.
- Add the minced clams and cook the soup till it becomes thick and has a rich texture.
- Season it with pepper and salt, and well, your Manhattan Clam Chowder is ready to serve.
- Rhode Island Clam Chowder
Rhode Island Clam Chowder is a clear broth and has no dairy ingredients nor rich tomatoes. This Clam Chowder is often considered as the south county style Clam Chowder.
Even though this soup doesn’t have a cream base, it is thicker and has huge amounts of potatoes. You can easily freeze this dish and reheated it many times. It is the easiest to make among the Clam Chowder soups.
- 24 clams
- 1 tbs of unsalted butter
- ¼ pound of slab bacon
- 1 onion
- 2 large ribs of celery
- 12 potatoes
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Pepper to taste
- Put the clams in the pot, add water and cook them for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Strain the clam broth and keep it aside. Separate the clams from the shells as well.
- In the fresh pot, add butter, bacon and cook till it’s tender.
- Add onions, celery, potatoes and cook them with white wine till they are thoroughly cooked.
- Add 4 cups of clam broth and add thyme and bay leaf to it. Cook the potatoes for 15 minutes and then add chopped clams to it.
- Add pepper for taste.
- Garnish with parsley and oyster crackers, and it’s ready to serve.
How to freeze Clam Chowder without spoiling it?
Remember, if you want to freeze the Clam Chowder, keep it when it’s fresh and ready, but no later than the next day. This makes sure the ingredients are fresh for the next time use.
Here are some tips for freezing them:
- Let the soup cool and have no steam before you put it in the fridge.
- Pour the Clam Chowder into the freezer bag, and remember to leave some space for expansion.
- Seal the freezer bag and make sure to label it.
- Without milk and cream, the frozen Clam Chowder can be used for three months for the best results.
- You can also use a freezer-safe or hard container to store the Clam Chowder.
- Clam Chowder contains many ingredients like cream, fish, and clam juice that don’t freeze well. They often break the dish and spoil it faster. Sometimes, some ingredients in the soup go bad faster than the rest making it even vulnerable to freeze the dish.
- If you are making homemade Clam Chowder, make sure you exclude running vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, celery, and potatoes. Don’t add them until they are ready to serve.
- Avoid making Clam Chowder with milk cream and milk when you are freezing it. You can add them later while you are reheating them but remember you won’t get the original taste of the Clam Chowder.
- It is easier to increase the life of the clams and make them tasty in the Clam Chowder. Try avoiding dairy in the soups; you can experiment with all the other ingredients.
Some Additional Tips
How to store Clam Chowder for a longer period?
The best way to store Clam Chowder for a longer period is with a vacuum sealer.
Vacuum sealers are not perfect for liquid items, but they help you store the Clam Chowder in its best form.
Use a freezer bag first, keep the Clam Chowder in the freezer bag for a few hours and then shift it to the vacuum sealer. A vacuum sealer can store the Clam Chowder for three months max.
How to defrost or thaw Clam Chowder after freezing?
- Now that you know how to frost Clam Chowder, you better know how to defrost it without spoiling the food. Thawing is the best way to restore the texture and taste of Clam Chowder.
- Clam Chowder needs to be defrosted in the fridge to thaw it before heating it thoroughly.
- Never thaw the Clam Chowder in the microwave. It would become thin and runny, losing its consistency and flavor.
- Once the Clam Chowder is thawed properly, pour it into a wide saucepan and whisk it to reverse the separation process.
- If the Clam Chowder is still thin and runny, take some corn starch dissolved in water and mix it slowly as you stir the soup on low flame. The cornstarch will thicken the soup, and don’t forget to add some salt and pepper for taste.
- Remember to always use a low flame to restore the Clam Chowder. Using high flame can burn the soup and ruin the taste of the soup.
How to prevent bitterness while reheating the Clam Chowder?
It is very common to add herbs, pepper, and leaves to Clam Chowder, but they often turn bitter upon freezing. Sometimes, herbs make the soup bitter even while cooking. So it comes as no surprise for them to ferment upon freezing. So make sure to skip the herbs and spices while freezing Clam Chowder. You can add them when you reheat the soup.
Does quick cooling help Clam Chowder?
Quick cooling helps the Clam Chowder to minimize the risk of bacterial growth while freezing. If you pack the soup on steam, there are higher chances for the bacteria to grow and multiply. To cool the Clam Chowder, place the hot bowl of soup in a tub of tap water.
Make sure the water is not up to the brim of the pot. You can add ice cubes to the tap water to hasten the process. Keep stirring the bowl to cool it faster. Store it at steady 0 degrees for longer life of the Clam Chowder.
Clam Chowder is a tricky dish to freeze because it contains ingredients that cannot be frozen. The soup needs a lot of preparation to be frozen, and dairy products must be avoided for longer storage. Make sure to follow the steps to cherish Clam Chowder for a really long time!
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