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“How to Clean a Clam”

Yes, they made it off the island. The little boat made two more trips and the last ones on the island were the ones who had the tallest boots… they had thigh boots. They took one for the team because they had thigh boots.

When preparing your clams for dinner, it is best to let them soak in a bucket of water over night so that they “relax.” This will make it easier to clean them. It will also take out a lot of the sand.

Then you shuck. You pry open the shell with a shucking knife and take a look inside.

The string on the outer rim of the shell is the lip. That’s delicious and you want to save that.

Just cut it right off and set it aside.

Then this triangular muscle is the “digger,” which you want to save also. Perfect in clam chowder.

Then this. The neck. You want to cut it off.

Then cut the black tip off.

Then you take the skin off.

Start from one end and peel it back in one strip if you can. It comes off quite easily, especially if the necks have “relaxed.”

Then you will have a bowl of necks with two tubes inside each neck. Those are the valves that were squirting out at us.

You slip a knife or your finger along the inside of one tube and it will open up. Then do the same for the other tube until you have a nice rectangular steak. We can go over this a bit more tomorrow when I post a recipe. But it’s very easy you’ll see.

And remember how we found pregnant shrimp and wise crabs and sand dollars on the island? Well this is a scallop we found.

Alan popped it open and dropped it in some Hogwash and had a little scallop ceviche. Because it was the right thing to do.

Leave a Comment



  1. Oh my word, Georgia. These posts on the clams have completely creeped me out. I'm sorry but I'm such a midwesterner, I'm only finally venturing into eating shell fish and ocean creatures. But those clams with that long…uh…."neck"…..are…….grooooossssss!!!

    You are a better man then me!

  2. Im interested to see how you cook these.

  3. I'm with Clayvessel…yurk.

    That said, if you fix 'em, I'll eat 'em.

  4. jaimehwkns says:

    Oh my heavens………..I'm from OH and I used to adore clam chowder. That was because I had never actually SEEN what the clam bits looked like before they became…bits. The neck part is what is really sending me over the edge. I am going to have to think long and hard before eating clam chowder again. *Shudder*

    Thank you, though, Georgia – everyone should know exactly what it is that they're eating – this was good for me to see!

    • Georgia says:

      Well, not all clams look like this. But some do. Have you ever seen a geoduck? They’re even bigger! But there are small dainty clams without protruding necks, then there’s my favorite, so popular in France, called Tellines, where the shells are the size of your thumbnail and you just suck the parsley and butter out one by one. So don’t be afraid to eat clams just because I showed you a horseneck, they mean no harm and they’re deeelicious.

  5. Adam Danforth says:

    Wow, people. If a clam makes you sick it bears asking: what have you seen killed and processed that was living before you chose to eat it?

    • @Adam Danforth- we butcher chickens here twice a year (fifty total) and hunt for game. We've raised pigs and beef for the freezer. In our early years we attended a hog killing that processed about ten hogs. I am not the squeamish type normally. I've birthed seven kids, examining placenta and amniotic sac afterwards, but those bizarre sea creatures are just…..just….creepy and slimy and not at all food like to me. {{{{shudder}}}} Oysters neither. But if ya like 'em, more power to ya!

  6. Steve Langer says:

    Good photo pictorial on that gaper. Looks like a Pacific Gaper rather than a Fatty Gaper due to the light colored neck and prominant harder tip. I’ve been digging these for years as well as a goeyduck now or then on the Oregon coast. I just got back with a limit today and will start cleaning them soon. An old style cake frosting knife with thin blade and rounded tip is an ideal tool. I just sharpen one edge and its flexility serve opening and cleaning the clams well. We pound the necks a bit and fry quickly dusted with flour or panko.


  7. Hey there,
    Great pictures, I wasn’t sure if the digestion organ inside was edible or not. Another way to remove the skin of the neck is to blanch it in hot water briefly if the neck is tense. And I think your ‘scallop’ is actually a cockle which are also great in chowder!