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Cleaning Your Clams

Updated: Jun 14, 2018

I love clams, particularly CLEAN clams. Sand belongs on the beach and between your toes, not in your food. I have had several inquiries about properly cleaning clams, so I thought I would share these super simple steps with pro tips on how to get your fresh clams grit free. The first part of the process is to de-grit and the second part is to de-salt. There are some methods using cornmeal which is fine, but I have found the Japanese method works the best because it is the most natural way.

1. Discard any clams that are cracked, chipped or stay open. Test to see if they are alive by firmly tapping the clam or squeezing it shut. Healthy clams will stay closed if they are still alive.

2. De-grit: Using a firm brush, scrub the outside of the clam to free it of any debris. Rinse well. Fill large bowl or pan with 1 gallon cold water and 1/3 cup of sea salt (I add the salt to a cup of hot water to quickly dissolve the salt before adding it to the other 15 cups of cold water). Place a rack on the bottom of the large bowl or pan filled with the saltwater solution so the clams don't consume the grit they are purging. Place clams in the saltwater solution overnight in the refrigerator covered with a damp paper towel. Water should cover the clams completely. As clams breath they filter the water, in turn pushing grit and sand out of their shells.

3. De-salt: Gently remove clams from the bowl. Discard the saltwater from the bowl and rinse. You want to remove the clams first so you don't pour sandy water back over the clams. Place clams back in the empty bowl and fill with fresh water to de-salt for 30 minutes before cooking. The clams should purge clear water as shown below.

4. It will only take 5-6 minutes to steam clams in covered pan. Be sure to discard any that do not open.

Thank you for all of your inquiries and happy cooking!

à votre santé,

Chef Tillie

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