Learn How to Clean Clams With This Helpful Kitchen Tutorial

Clam Cleaning

How to Clean Clams

While clams are truly one of my favorite foods, nothing is more likely to make me cringe and send a shiver down my spine than biting right into a crunchy piece of sand or grit while eating a clam. If you want to avoid that unpleasant sensation at all costs, let me tell you how to clean clams so that you never have to deal with sandy, gritty seafood again. There are plenty of ideas floating around when it comes to the best way to clean clams.

Some people prefer cleaning clams with baking soda, some people just use a water rinse, and others find cleaning clams with cornmeal to be the superior clams cleaning method. In my opinion, the best tactic for getting sand out of clams isn’t as fancy or hands on as some other methods. I was always taught that the proper way to clean clams was with a thorough scrub and a good long soak in saltwater. Continue reading for the low down on some of the best instructions on how to get sand out of clams.

Buying the Right Ones

Before we get into the cleaning instructions, there are a few tips that I want to share with you about selecting the tastiest and fresh clams for your meal. Never buy clams that have shells that are chipped or cracked. The clam inside of the shell could be dead or unwell when you purchase it, and then you are either throwing money away or you’re taking the risk of eating bad seafood, which is never a good risk to take. Eating bad seafood could make you really sick, so don’t take that chance, even if you make the mistake of buying a clam that is cracked or broken. A tiny scuff or very small chip on the shell isn’t a big deal, but if it’s enough of a crack that you can immediately notice it, that clam should go in the garbage. If you can, it’s best to buy your clams live.

They would be the freshest and tasty this way, and they don’t last very long once they’re out of their natural environment, so you want to make sure that you’re using them quickly once you buy them. When you select fresh and unbroken clams at the seafood shop or grocery store, make sure that you transport them in a bag of ice. If the clams are in a plastic bag, make sure that the bag is open so that they would be able to breathe. You want to keep them alive until you cook them. If they’re in a mesh bag or an opened bag within another bag of ice, make sure that the ice bag is left open too. Once you get them home, you can store them either in the sink in a colander over ice or in the refrigerator with some ice for a short period of time. You want to ensure that there is enough oxygen for them to survive and enough coolness that they don’t go bad. Cook them either the night that you’ve purchased them or one day later. Frozen clams usually already have been steamed, so you won’t need to go through the same hassle with those.

What Is the Easiest Way to Clean Clams?

How to Clean Clams

Now that you’ve gotten the rundown on how to store your clams before making them into a meal, now let’s talk about how to clean clams before cooking. The first thing that you’re going to want to do with your fresh live clams is rinsed them under lukewarm water. Get a scrub brush and brush away any bits of debris, sand, or barnacles that may be lingering on the outside of your clamshells. After scrubbing each clamshell, place the clam into a clean colander. Then, once each clam has been rinsed and scrubbed, prepare a solution of saltwater for them to soak in for about 120-160 minutes. The clams can naturally clean themselves once they are in the water. The shellfish actually removes any bits of dirt, sand, or debris from the inside of the shell as they open up in the water that mimics their natural habitat. To make the saltwater, mix four teaspoons of salt with two liters of cool water. Then place your clams in the water and put on a timer for two or so hours.

What Is the Easiest Way to Clean Clams

Go about your day, whether that means making some of the other elements of tonight’s dinner, doing some online shopping, or taking a luxurious stroll through the neighborhood. Once the timer goes off, it’s time to remove your clams from the water. To do this, simply take them out with a slotted spoon or a pair of tongs, rather than dumping the bowl of water into a strainer. This way, the dirt and grime that the clams have pushed out of their shells should be left in the bottom of the bowl of saltwater, and you won’t take any with the clams into their new clean location. Now you’re ready to start preparing fresh clams. Another important thing that you can do to ensure that your clams are of the best quality and would taste the most delicious is to steam them briefly and watch as all of the shells open up. If you see any clams with shells that remain closed, you know that those claims are not good to eat, and you can discard them immediately. Once you’re sure you have only the cream of the crop when it comes to your shellfish, you can make delicious dinners, side dishes, or appetizers with your delightful and freshly washed clams.

Add a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, and lemon juice, and you have a simple and delicious sauce for the clams to swim in. Soak it all up with a crusty piece of baguette and pair it with your favorite crisp white wine. Now that I’ve described my ideal meal, I think I might go buy some clams and get cooking!

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