Letting clams sit in fresh water for around an hour before cooking. Yes or no?

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Juano

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Should you let clams sit in fresh water for a while after you leave them a few hours in salt water and let them purge? I read that this makes them less salty and lets you appreciate the flavor more, specially eaten raw.

What are your thoughts on this?
 

Addie

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Should you let clams sit in fresh water for a while after you leave them a few hours in salt water and let them purge? I read that this makes them less salty and lets you appreciate the flavor more, specially eaten raw.

What are your thoughts on this?

Now as crazy as this may sound to some, the clams will drown in plain water. Then you will have dead clams on your hands and can not eat them. If you want to purge them, put cornmeal or oatmeal in the salt water. The whole experience of eating clams is that they taste of the sea. Would you eat hamburger or pork without any salt? Clams live mostly below the sand. Not in the water except to eat. When folks go clamming, they go at low tide. They have to dig deep to find them. No fresh water. :angel:
 

Addie

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Thank you DG. As a New Englander who has always lived within walking distance of the sea, I know for whence I talk. Any seashell animal from the sea will drown in fresh water. It is a different type of air than what is found in sea water. If yo could see the equipment that is used to harvest shell fish, you would understand. You sometimes have to go down at least two feet to find the clams. As kids during the war, meat was rationed. So we would go down to the beach at low tide and fill up a bucket with clams. I thought it was fun then. I didn't know I was doing hard work. I think we ate more lobsters and clams than meat. :angel:
 

no mayonnaise

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I've never heard of putting oatmeal or cornmeal in the water when purging clams. What does that do?
 

CraigC

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I always purge clams in salted water. Sometimes I'll add coarse corn meal. Clams are filter-feeders. The corn meal helps to purge them of sand quicker. Much rather bite into a clam with corn meal in its gut than sand.
 

buckytom

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as craid said, they suck in the cornmeal and spit out sand they
may have in their shells, as if they were feeding.

this way you don't get gritty bits in your clams as cornmeal is grainy but soft.

and having done the fresh water vs. salt water thing, i agree with addie. the saltwater taste better.

although it doesn't kill them in an hour. you'd have to submerge them in fresh water for several hours for some of them to start to die.
 
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pacanis

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Great info all.
This is for wild caught clams, right?
I've never had to purge or debeard any I have bought in a store. They are usually advertised as cleaned and I've never gotten any grit with them.
 

Bigjim68

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My experience with clams and mussels is that cultured ones are relatively grit free and need no purging. Those harvested in the wild need a purging. I do it with salt water and a little corn meal.
 

pacanis

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Thanks Jim.
I imagine I'm lucky to get the farmed ones around here, but if I ever see any wild clams I'll know what to do.
 

no mayonnaise

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OK so folks want cornmeal in their clams???? Why not just purge with salt water? The cornmeal seems pointless when salt water purges out all the grit anyway, unless you're going for clam polenta.
 

CraigC

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OK so folks want cornmeal in their clams???? Why not just purge with salt water? The cornmeal seems pointless when salt water purges out all the grit anyway, unless you're going for clam polenta.

If you don't eat, do you get the urge to poop?:rolleyes:
 

no mayonnaise

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If you don't eat, do you get the urge to poop?:rolleyes:

Technically no, since the urge to defecate is based on the amount of pressure caused by chyme exiting the ileum through the ileocecal valve and into the cecum, forcing what's already inside the large intestine to pass further along, eventually ending at the colon and forming the urge to defecate.
But there's also the possibility that you have to defecate when you haven't eaten recently.

So more information is needed to answer. But what does that have to do with purging sand from clams?
 
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Andy M.

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Technically no, since the urge to defecate is based on the amount of pressure caused by chyme exiting the ileum through the ileocecal valve and into the cecum, forcing what's already inside the large intestine to pass further along, eventually ending at the colon and forming the urge to defecate.
But there's also the possibility that you have to defecate when you haven't eaten recently.

So more information is needed to answer. But what does that have to do with purging sand from clams?

I'm not at all sure clams have all those parts you've listed or that their digestive systems work as ours do.
 

no mayonnaise

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They definitely don't. I still don't understand his question as it relates to the topic. If the implication is that clams need something to pass through their digestive system to 'push' the sand along, that 'something' being cornmeal, then that doesn't compute. Clams are filter feeders; the water they breathe in contains the food they eat and digest. Clean salt water is all that is needed to purge sand from clams.
 
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Bigjim68

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They definitely don't. I still don't understand his question as it relates to the topic. If the implication is that clams need something to pass through their digestive system to 'push' the sand along, that 'something' being cornmeal, then that doesn't compute. Clams are filter feeders; the water they breathe in contains the food they eat and digest. Clean salt water is all that is needed to purge sand from clams.
The best answer I have for you as to why I use corn meal is that is the way my Mummy told me to do it.

But polenta stuffed clams? That could work
 

Addie

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Great info all.
This is for wild caught clams, right?
I've never had to purge or debeard any I have bought in a store. They are usually advertised as cleaned and I've never gotten any grit with them.

Clams do not have beards. Mussels do. They cling to rocks. Clams dig down out of the way of enemies. :angel:
 

Addie

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The best answer I have for you as to why I use corn meal is that is the way my Mummy told me to do it.

But polenta stuffed clams? That could work

Yeh, you tell them. If you don't purge them, then you will want to rip off their little tummies and throw them away. Who do you know that wants to eat a tummy full of poop and sand? They may be filter eaters, but if they were that great at filtering, then there would be no sand in their tummies. Unfortunately, our oceans are not as clean as we would like to think they are. If they were we wouldn't be finding mercury in our fish.

If I am going to be paying top dollar for clams, I want to be able to eat the whole animal and know that the final product is clean and safe to eat. There is just not enough meat for me in the strips alone. :angel:
 

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