Q. My husband made an incredible clam chowder for some guests, and we have some leftover. It’s much too rich for us to eat every day until it’s gone, but we don’t want to throw the leftovers away. I would like to freeze it, but I’m nervous about freezing something that contains both cream and shellfish. I don’t want to make anyone sick if I freeze the clam chowder in an unsafe manner. Can you freeze clam chowder?
A. While you do have to be extra careful with seafood, there’s no reason that you can’t successfully freeze clam chowder. Be aware that if your chowder has potatoes in it, they have a tendency to break down upon freezing, and will have to be stirred back into the chowder to regain its former consistency. Still, there’s no reason to throw away your leftovers, when in a few simple steps you can successfully freeze your clam chowder to enjoy later.
Freezing Clam Chowder
To freeze clam chowder, I recommend freezing it at the height of freshness, preferably the day it’s made, but no later than the next day. This ensures that the ingredients are fresh, which makes a big difference when freezing. Wait until the chowder has cooled enough that there is no steam coming off it. Place a freezer bag in a bowl and fold the top of the bag over the rim to allow you the use of both hands when pouring the chowder in. Pour the chowder into the freezer bag, leaving a little bit of headroom at the top for expansion. Seal the freezer bag, then label and date it. Use frozen clam chowder within 3 months for best results. Alternatively, you can place the chowder in a freezer-safe, hard container, leaving enough headroom for expansion.
To achieve the best results, the thawing process is extremely important. Clam chowder should be defrosted in the refrigerator until completely thawed. It is not recommended that you thaw it in the microwave. The chowder will be thin and runny. Once the chowder has thawed, pour it in a saucepan. Using a whisk or a wooden spoon, give the chowder a good stir to reverse the process of separation. If the chowder is still thin, mix in a bit of cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken it up. Heat over a low heat, stirring occasionally to bring the clam chowder back to its original consistency and to bring out its flavour.