Get Rid of the Grit

March 8, 2008

The other day I wrote about Zuppa di Vongole and have since been asked how to get clams sand-free. There is nothing worse than tucking into a nice dish of clams only to find yourself chewing on gritty sand.

Soft-shelled (also called fryers, steamers or long-necks), razor and geoduck (pronounced gooey-duck) clams are the biggest culprits for retaining sand. Because their shells gape open and don't completely close up once out of the water they're unable to fully purge themselves of sand.

Most hard-shelled clams contain little sand and usually just require a good rinse and scrub of their shells. But, I say soak the buggers. Better safe than sorry.

Here are a couple of methods of "de-gritting" your clams: an overnight method and a quick method. First, rinse and scrub (gently scrub the soft-shelled variety) clams first under cool running water until water runs clear, then follow one of the methods below:

Overnight Cleanse
Stir one cup salt into 3 quarts of water, making sure there is enough solution to cover the clams. Stir until all the salt is dissolved and soak overnight (or at least 2-3 hours) in the refrigerator.

Quick Cleanse - Electrify the clams!
To do this place the clams in your sink and run cold water over the back of a stainless steel spoon continuously for about 10-15 minutes. An electrical charge is created by the water flowing over the stainless steel. Oh, the magic of physics! As the clams react to the fresh water and the electricity they will spit the sand as well as the fluids that remain in their systems. Make sure they are completely submerged in the water so that they can completely process the water through their bivalves.

So there you go, clean clams, no more sandy grit!



Carla Saunders's picture

Do you keep running the water over the stainless steel spoon for 10 or 15 minutes? I guess you do. I'm glad you wrote that. The sand has kept me from cooking those guys.

Rosebud's picture

What great information. The sand has kept me from fixing clams at home, so now I will give them try. Thanks

Dreama's picture

What a wonderful quick way to de-sand the clams.....gonna share this info with others.

Ken's picture

Since it rains so much here in Portland, I think I'm going to connect my house wiring to thousands of spoons and place them neatly on the roof. This way, our meter will run backwards in the winter. Okay, there is a chance I won't do this, but what a cool idea you suggest for getting the sand out of clams! I'll have to try this... with my voltmeter handy of course. :)

i will try this's picture