Cleaning clams is a crucial operation to make recipes like Spaghetti with Clams, Seafood Risotto, or Sautéed Clams, etc… If not, you could have an unpleasant eating experience, because of sand and debris, as well as risk a food poisoning. This may happen out of distraction, or of lack of information. So, let’s try to explain clearly. Clams are bivalve mollusks, with the valves connected by a hinge joint, encoling the body. Of course, there are several varieties, also ranging in size. They are considered to be filter feeders, taht is to say that, with their siphons, they feed by straining suspended matter from water, basically taking in small particles of detritus too. That’s why cleaning is a major issue. Let’s see how to do it.
First and foremost, you should always buy clams whose origin is reported. Here in the European Union, they shoul have the CEE mark. Then, as for mussels, always buy just closed clams, or those that, slightly open, quickly respond if you tap on them. Then, if you are not using them right away, wrap them with a damp cloth, and store in the fridge up to 24 hours at top. Or else, you can cook them, store in the freezer, and eat within three months.
Examine your your clams, and discard any broken one. Rinse them under fresh running water, and rub them with a steel scrubber. Let them soak in some cool salted water (about one handful of coarse salt each liter of water) for a couple of hours. Check them every now and again: if they release any sand, change the water. Keep doing that untill they will stop releasing sand.
Rinse them once again under fresh running water. Now you can cook them. Some people prefer to boil or steam first, and them panfry them. Somebody else just panfry them. Anyway, should they release any more sand or particles during cooking, take the clams away and filter the content of the pot/pan you’re using with a clean cloth, then you can go on cooking.