For a while now, I have been wanting to devote a blog specifically on How to Clean Clams. Additionally, on how to clean mussels, as well. The technique is the same. You will notice that any recipe I have created for clams and mussels, always include a mention on how to do just this. Believe me, there are numerous other methods that will also work perfectly. This is my way.
No matter if you are purchasing clams from your local fish market, or pulling them out of the water yourself, they will all contain a bit of sand and/or grit. This is one ingredient you do not want in your finished dish. Speaking of finished dishes, be sure to check out a few of my most prized recipes for clams and mussels at the end. Not sure if I told you lately, but I love, love, love clams. In fact, I could probably eat them every single day.
TYPES OF CLAMS AND THEIR USES
I also think that before I get into the process of cleaning clams, it is equally as important to understand a few of the varieties, and which type of clams to use in various dishes and preparations. Additionally, you should also note that if a clam is open prior to prep, they are dead, and should be discarded. Also, once cooked, if the clam does not open, it too should be discarded.
LITTLENECK AND MIDDLENECK CLAMS
Littleneck clams are the smallest. Honestly, I have found that there is not much of a difference between littleneck and middleneck clams. Middlenecks may just be slightly bigger. Both are perfect for consuming raw, steaming, grilling or as the star in your pasta dish. Obviously, littlenecks and middlenecks are the ones I use most often. Yes, clams can be frozen. In fact, if you place a live clam in the freezer, once they unthaw, they will actually come back to life. How crazy is that?
TOPNECK AND CHOWDER CLAMS
Topneck clams can also be consumed raw (not sure I could do this as they are quite large), and are great to stuff and bake. I love using topnecks for my Clams Oreganata. Unlike topneck clams, chowder clams are generally large and quite tough. Hence, the name. Chowder clams are typically cut into pieces and used in chowders. Try out my recipes for New England and Manhattan Clam Chowder. Despite their size, I will use whatever type of clam is available for my recipes. I may just have to treat them differently during preparation.
If you love clams as much as I do, I have a ton, I mean a ton of recipes using these gifts from the sea. Click here to check them out!
HOW TO CLEAN CLAMS
So, let’s get down to the business at hand. How do we clean clams? No matter the type of clam, the method to clean is the same. As mentioned earlier, there are other successful ways to get the sand and grit out of them. This is mine. Keep in mind the clams are alive. Fill a bowl with cold water. Add in a few tablespoons of flour. Mix around a bit. Add the clams. Allow the clams to sit and soak for about ten minutes. As the clams are soaking, they will ingest the flour water (which they do not like very well) and spit it out along with any bits of sand and grit. Rinse thoroughly. Guess what? They are now ready to use in your favorite dish. Don’t forget, if any of the clams are cracked and/or open prior to soaking, discard immediately. So, now that you know how to clean clams, go ahead and try out a few of my recipes!
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