• dig for clams at low tide in sandy areas.
  • live clams should be used within 2-3 days from collection.
  • do not store clams in water or airtight container, they can suffocate and die.
  • before cooking, soak clams in salted water for 30 minutes, changing water periodically
  • if clam opens during storage, tap it. If it does not close, it's dead and should not be eaten.
  • to cook, boil or steam for 3-5 minutes after shells have opened. Do not eat any clams that failed to open
  • varieties in the Pacific Northwest are Hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria), Butter clam (Saxidomus gigantea), Manila clam (Venerupis philippinarum), Pacific littleneck clam (Leukoma staminea), Pacific razor clam (Siliqua patula), Geoduck (Panopea generosa), Horse clams (Tresus capax, Clinocardium_nuttallii).
  • Geoduck (Panopea generosa), Purple mahogany clam (Nuttallia obscurata), Bent-nose clam (Macoma nasuta), and Heart cockle (Clinocardium_nuttallii).
  • warning: may be be toxic (paralytic shelfish poisoning) if area is affected by a toxic algal bloom. Blooms cannot be detected by observation, check the current status of your area with government fishery. Eating affected clams (cooked or raw) could be fatal in as little as 2 hours, alcohol consumption accelerates the effects. Induce vomiting and seek immediate medical attention if the following symptoms occur within 2 hours of eating: nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, tingling or burning lips, tongue, face, and impairment of breathing/moving. In clams, PSP toxins accumulate in the neck/siphon, gills, gut, and digestive gland.
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Field Notes
When you're on a sandy beach and you notice little holes in the sand, you know you're in clamming territory - especially if little jets of water shoot up from the holes when you step near them. Where there's one clam there are usually more, and just digging long enough is likely yield rewards. Be sure to check that the area is safe for harvesting clams before you eat them.