How to Shuck Clams

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Soft-shell clams are the easiest to shuck, but once you get the hang of it, shucking any type becomes easy.

Things You'll Need

  • Stiff Brushes
  • Towels
  • Clams
  • Bowls
  • Clam Knives
  • Paring Knives
  • Stiff brushes
  • Make sure hard-shell clams are alive by checking that they are tightly closed; check that soft-shell clams react to your touch. Discard dead clams.

  • Scrub clams under running water using a stiff brush.

  • Hold the clam in the palm of your hand using a towel so that you don't cut your hand, and work over a bowl to ensure that you catch the clam's juices.

  • Make sure the clam's hinge is braced against the part of your palm nearest your thumb (the "meat" of your palm).

  • Work a paring or clam knife into the part of the shell near your fingertips.

  • Slide the knife around the clam's shell so that you cut the muscle at its hinge.

  • Open shell.

  • Scrape the muscle from the top shell into the bottom shell.

  • Serve clams on the half shell, or remove meat from shells to prepare for other dishes.

Tips & Warnings

  • Let clams cool in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes before you start, and it will be easier to shuck them.
  • Another way to shuck clams is by inserting the knife near the hinge then twisting the knife (moving the handle from horizontal to vertical) to open the shell.
  • Try to be sure that all shellfish is from a source that's free of pollution and other hazards.

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