An A to Z guide to choosing, storing, preparing, and cooking fresh produce and recipe ingredients.

  • How to Choose Clams
    Purchase fresh clams live in their shells. When buying hard-shell clams (a.k.a. quahogs), such as littlenecks, cherrystones, or large chowder clams, look for tightly closed shells; if you can easily separate them, that means the clam is dead and should be discarded. Soft-shell clams, such as New England steamers and West Coast razor clams, have thin, brittle shells that don’t close all the way. To determine whether a soft-shell clam is still alive, touch its neck lightly; it should move.

  • How to Store Clams
    Keep live clams in their shells in a bowl in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Do not immerse in water or seal in plastic or they will die. Shucked clams can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

    How to Prepare Clams
    To shuck a hard-shell clam, wedge a thick, blunt knife between the shells opposite the clam’s hinge. Run the knife through the shell and twist open gently, preserving as much of the fresh clam juice inside as possible. Rinse New England steamers thoroughly before cooking. Tough, sandy razor clams should be soaked in salted water for a couple hours in the refrigerator, then carefully rinse before cooking.

  • How to Use Clams
    When small to medium-size hard-shell clams are fresh, it’s best to eat them raw, on the half shell. Larger clams are less tender and are often chopped for use in chowders. Clams are delicious steamed or in basic dishes, like fettuccine with clam sauce, that let the clams’ flavor shine through.

    Jenny Rosenstrach

    Real Simple Clam Recipes:

    See all Clam recipes »

What's your favorite clam recipe?

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Fruits and vegetables at their peak right now.

   
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