Sorry I haven’t been about in ages. I’ve been hard at work on the book. Unfortunately I will not be able to sell them due to being disabled. So I might just give a few away once their finished. I noticed I had a few searches on razor clamswhile I was away. Specifically how to gather razor clams. There is three types of razor clams and I will discuss both in depth along with how to catch them.
- Ensis directus, Atlantic jackknife clam
- Ensis arcuatus, razor shell
- Siliqua patula, Pacific razor clam
I am most familiar with the first one the atlantic jackknife clam. The jack knife is called the bamboo clam, american jackknife clam and of course the razor clam. You can find them from south carolina all the way up to canada and even in europe. These clams live in sand and mud. You have to look at intertidal and subtidal zones in bays and estuaries. Here in Rhode Island you can find them in the salt water ponds. They can burrow in wet sand very quickly, and is also able to swim. It gets its name from the rim of the shell being extremely sharp (stepping on one causes extreme pain and a trip to the doctor) and the shape of the clam overall has a strong resemblance to an old fashioned straight razor. These clams can and will out dig you. Harvesting methods can be limited, specifically here in rhode island your not allowed to use a dredge of any kind to collect them. Their location is revealed by a keyhole-shaped opening in the sand and when the clam is disturbed, a small jet of water squirts from this opening similar to steamer clams as the clam starts to dig. They are not really commercially fished because of the speed and the limited harvesting methods. The best and easiest way to catch the atlantic jackknife is a method called scaring. This is done by pouring salt on the breathing hole and a little water, the clam will try to escape this extremely salt water coming to the surface and all you must do is grab the shell. Very simple method, though some people are confused as to what is poured on the breathing hole. You now know it’s salt. The same method of razor shells works, however they live only in sand. They are found eastern canada to northern europe. The pacific razor clam is a bit different still. They are larger, and can be 30 feet down in sandy beaches. They can be found from Pismo beach in California, all the way up into the Aleutian islands in Alaska. They can be almost 11 inches long in Alaska! Generally they are 3-6 inches in their southern range though. Always check the public health regulations in your area, as clams of any type may be subject to pollution or toxins in the water. These clams are commercially harvested. I have never dug for pacific razor clams, so I’m not sure how it’s done. I did find a website in Oregon with pictures that can help those on the pacific coast. http://www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp/shellfish/razorclams/digging_razor_clams.asp http://www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp/shellfish/razorclams/index.asp
Now you know how to catch them. How do you clean them? Well one can clean them a number of ways. I purge them by letting them sit in salt water over night with bread crumbs so that they can remove the sand and grit from their bellies.
Another way to do it is to put them in a colander, then pour boiling water over them and then cold water this causes them to pop open. Then you remove the meat from the shell it’s fully cooked and we process the meat. Snip off the tough part of the neck just below the valve. Getting as close to the end as you can. Put the edge of your scissors in under the zipper and snip upward toward the end of the neck. Make sure your scissors go into the lower chamber of the neck to save time. If you missed it, put the scissors back in and cut through the lower chamber. Continue all the way through the end of the neck. Use your fingers to grab the foot and gills. Squeeze gently and pull to separate the foot from the body. After rinsing, the body is ready to eat. Snip at an angle across the end of the foot. Insert the scissors into the middle part of the foot. Cut all the way through the end of the foot, keeping in the middle so that the foot will lay flat for cooking. Pull the foot apart so that it lays flat. Pull the dark material from the foot. Only remove the dark material. Gently pull the foot flat and rinse. There will be soft material that remains on the foot. The foot is now ready to eat. At this point you can batter them and fry them if you wish.