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September 09, 2004

Cleaning Clams & Mussels

Clams & Mussels Clams and Mussels are renowned for being gritty or making people sick, but a few basic precautions and simple cleaning procedure can make these wonderful molluscs delicious. grit free and unlikely to cause illness.





  1. When you purchase clams or mussels, make sure to immediately unwrap them at home and store them in a dry bowl in the refrigerator, so they can breathe, otherwise they may die before you cook with them.
  2. Using a firm brush scrub the shells under running water to remove any dirt (sand and barnacles etc.)
  3. Discard any that have shells that are chipped, broken, or damaged in any way.
  4. The shells should be tightly closed. If there are any that have open shells, they could be dead. Give them a tap on the counter surface, if the mollusc is still alive it will close its shell. Discard any whose shells remain open.
  5. Just before cooking, soak your the clams or mussels in fresh water for about 20 minutes. As they breathe, they filter water and expel sand. After soaking they will have less salt and sand stored inside of their shells.
  6. Remove the mussels from the water, by lifting them out into another bowl of clean water. Do not pour the mussels and water into a colander because the sand has sunk to the bottom of the bowl and you will tip the sand back onto the shells.Pouring the mussels and water into a straining device would cause you to pour the sand back on top of the mussels. Place these mussels into another bowl full of clean cold water.
  7. Unlike clams, mussels have a dark beard that needs to be removed and discarded. Using a dry towel, grasp the beard and give a sharp yank out and toward the hinge-end of the mussel. Note:- Remove the beard immediately before cooking, as it is possible that the mussel can tear away from the inside of it's shell, killing it.
  8. Once the clam or mussels are cooked, discard any that have shells that remain closed.
Posted by Victoria : September 9, 2004 06:28 PM to Fish & Seafood | How To
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