Florida hard clams are harvested year round and are always available in steady supply. Though some clams are still wild caught, clam farming is a growing. In Florida’s warm waters, clams grow quickly. Farmers monitor the clams for 12 to 18 months until they reach market size. Clams should never be exposed to sudden temperature change. When storing live clams, do not place them directly on ice or immerse them in water. Store live clams at a constant 41 degrees F in the refrigerator in a container with the lid slightly open. They will remain alive for up to seven days. Drain excess liquid daily. Live clams should close tightly when the shell is tapped. Discard clams that do not close. Shucked clams will keep for up to seven days in the refrigerator.
Florida oysters are available year round, but harvest really gears up in fall as water temperatures begin to drop. Fall and winter are the perfect time to enjoy Florida’s famous oysters. The cool months are when oysters taste the best. Fresh oysters are sold live or shucked. Live oysters should have a mild sea-breeze aroma, and their shells should be free of cracks. Live oysters should close tightly when their shells are tapped, and oysters that do not close should be discarded. Live oysters should be stored in the refrigerator at a constant 41 degrees Fahrenheit in a container with the lid slightly open. Excess liquid should be drained daily. Live oysters should be eaten within seven days of purchase and washed thoroughly before cooking.