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Q&A

After purge clams 6 time in salt water 20 mins each, why they still exudate much grime?

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I'll add my own pic the next time I buy clams, but this Youtube shows my problem.

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I buy clams at Whole Food Market for years. They sell them on ice, not in running water.

How To Clean Sand Out of Clams | Kitchn

Place all the clams in a bowl and fill it with cool tap water. We’ve also heard that adding cornmeal or black pepper to the water will encourage the clams to spit out more sand.

Let the clams sit for 20 minutes to an hour. During this time, they will spit out the sand from inside their shells.

When you’re ready to cook, lift each clam from the water and scrub it to clean any particles or grit from the outside surface. It’s better to lift them individually because straining them into a colander would dump the sand back on top.

I repeat this 6 times...so 20 mins x 6 times = 120 mins of soaking!!! Clams exudate less grime every next time, but even after 6 times, water still has much grime! Why? This happening for a year!

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1 answer

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Your clams might be dead.

They are marine animals, so storage on ice might not be great for their health. It could also be a problem with how you transport or store the clams at home, or when you clean them: you should always clean them as soon as possible, since as more time passes more of them will die. When you soak clams in order to get rid of sand, you need the clams to use their muscles to suck water in and push water out. They are doing this because they hope to find food and oxygen in the water you give them... those poor little guys don't know what they're in for... but because they are now soaking in clean water the effect is that they push out all the sand that they sucked in when they were still living in their grime-filled natural habitat. If the clams are dead or if the clams are starving or if the clams are freezing cold, then the clams will be too weak to work their little lungs and you'll have to wait longer for them to purge the sand from their systems.

Also, 20 minutes is just a rough guideline. To quote from Honest Food:

Different clams need different purging times, too, depending on how and where they live. Hard shell clams in clean sand, like Eastern surf clams, cockles and quahogs, tend to be easier to purge than open-shelled clams like steamers, horseneck clams and geoducks. The worst of them all is the Western bent-nosed clam, which lives in dense mud and can take days to purge.

https://honest-food.net/how-to-purge-sand-from-clams/

You may want to ask your grocer for best advice on how to clean the clams sold there.

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