Here’s how to clean little neck clams, so you never bite into gritty clams again! A little bit of soaking in salt water will easily degrit clams for your next soup, salad, or pasta dish.
You bought beautiful fresh clams. Now what? How do you properly clean and prepare them to enjoy tender morsels of little neck clams?
Well, you’ve come to the right place, because I’m about to show you how to properly clean clams so you won’t be biting into sandy gritty seafood.
But first, let me share a few tips on how to choose clams…
How to Choose Little Neck Clams
- Look for clams that are tightly closed. Any opening or crack in the shell is an invitation for more sand and bacteria to fester. We want to stay clear of both of those items! During the cooking process, they’ll relax and open up, which is how you know they’re done.
- Look for clams that are fresh. Give them a sniff. If they are off-putting or smell extra fishy or like ammonia, pass on those clams! They should smell fresh and clean.
TIP: If you have a long drive home, make sure you pack them next to ice. Do not tightly seal them in a bag or they will suffocate.
How to Clean Little Neck Clams
- First, scrub the clams under running cold water and rinse them with cold water a few times until water runs clear.
- In a large bowl, dissolve 1/4 cup of salt in 4 cups of cold water.
- Add the washed clams in salt water and soak the clams in the refrigerator for a minimum of 20 minutes or up to 2 hours. Soaking in salt water helps to draw out the sand.
How to Cook Little Neck Clams
I love to add clams to miso soup, steam them for a fresh salad, or roast them for a beautiful pasta dish.
- Add 5 cups of cold water in a large saucepan. Add clams and bring it to a boil over high heat. Skim off the foam on top with a spoon.
- A minute or so after the water boils, the clams should open, which means they’re cooked.
- Immediately reduce the heat and serve.
TIP: It’s very important to keep an eye on clams. It only takes about a minute to cook the clams once the water comes to a boil. If cooked for longer than a minute, they will turn tough and rubbery!
Do clams open when they die?
- Yes. After you get home and before preparing the clams, tap on the top of the shell. If any open clams do not close their shells, they’re dead and should be thrown away.
How do you keep little neck clams alive?
- If necessary, live little neck clams can be stored for up to two days in the refrigerator in an open container. Placing them in a sealed container will kill them.
How do you clean clam meat?
- If you’re steaming or serving clams in a clam bake, you do not need to clean, or shuck, the clam meat. But if you’re adding these to pastas or salads, you may want to shuck them first.
Here’s how to clean clam meat: Carefully take a shucking knife and wedge the shell open to loosen the meat from inside the shell. Take the tip of the knife and separate the clam from the top and bottom of the shell.
How do you clean sand out of clams?
- Soak the clams in a bowl of salt water to help draw out the sand from the shell.
How to Clean Little Neck Clams
- 12 little neck clams in the shell
- ¼ cup sea salt
- Scrub the clams under running cold water and rinse them with cold water a few times until water run clear.
- In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of cold water and salt. Stir until salt is dissolved.
- Add the washed clams and soak the clams in the refrigerator for minimum of 20 minutes or up to 2 hours. Soaking in salt water helps to draw out the sand.
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