How to Purge Sand Out of Clams With Cornmeal

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Purging clams gets the grit out before cooking.
Purging clams gets the grit out before cooking. (Image: CLAMS image by brelsbil from Fotolia.com)

Clams are used in a variety of recipes and can be served steamed, baked or fried. Clams that are obtained commercially from seafood or grocery stores are generally already sand free, but if they are freshly dug or bought from a roadside vendor, they will need to be purged of sand before cooking. Clams are best cooked while still fresh but can be saved for a later date by refrigerating them in a bowl covered with a damp towel.

Things You'll Need

  • Large container
  • Water
  • Kosher salt
  • Cornmeal

Fill a bucket or other large container with 3 qt. of water. If you need more than 3 qt. to cover all of the clams, double the water and all other ingredients.

Add 1 cup of kosher salt and 1/3 cup of cornmeal to the water, then stir it around a bit.

Add the clams to the water and place the container in a refrigerator.

Drain all of the water off of the clams after two hours of refrigeration, and add new water, salt and cornmeal. Refrigerate for an additional two hours.

Drain the water from the clams, and scrub the shells with cool water and a stiff brush before cooking.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never use salt that contains iodine since clams need to be alive before cooking. Iodine will kill the clams.

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