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Author Topic: Razor clam cleaning question  (Read 3150 times)

Offline Teepee96

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Razor clam cleaning question
« on: March 19, 2023, 09:12:24 PM »
I've got a question for the experienced razor clam folks on here.
My family and I just wrapped up our first razor clam trip ever and obviously being new we broke a few.
My question for the seasoned vets is are these broken clams just crab bait now? Everything online says to toss broken clams but we've been digging geoduck and horse clams my whole life and never would have thought to toss a broken clam.
So what is everybody doing with busted razors can't find anything on the search bar, thanks for any help you can give us

Offline cem3434

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2023, 09:14:56 PM »
As long as they are fresh and still show signs of life, they get cleansed and go in the bowl with the rest of the processed clams.
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Offline GWP

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2023, 09:25:18 PM »
One’s we have dug get cleaned and eaten even if we break them and they are dead. We clean them within a couple hours at most anyway.
If the clam is horribly trashed it will be bait, but we can usually get at least some good meat out of most of them. 
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Offline Teepee96

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2023, 09:31:04 PM »
Alright that makes more sense. We had a long commute coming from Skagit county but they were dug and in the cooler within an hour so should be okay. the consensus on the internet was to clean them right away so going forward we will bring a paring knife and clean the broken ones on the beach. Thanks everybody for the input

Offline bobcat

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2023, 10:31:08 PM »
I've never done anything different with broken ones versus undamaged. But then I usually will be home within an hour and a half of digging them.

Offline PsoasHunter

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2023, 10:45:03 PM »
We sometimes don't get to cleaning our clams till the next day and I'd still never toss a broken razor clam. They get cleaned like all the rest. I've done this for decades and have never had a problem.

Offline HntnFsh

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2023, 05:48:00 AM »
We sometimes don't get to cleaning our clams till the next day and I'd still never toss a broken razor clam. They get cleaned like all the rest. I've done this for decades and have never had a problem.

Same here . Clean em and eat em!

Offline syoungs

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2023, 06:04:33 AM »
Alright that makes more sense. We had a long commute coming from Skagit county but they were dug and in the cooler within an hour so should be okay. the consensus on the internet was to clean them right away so going forward we will bring a paring knife and clean the broken ones on the beach. Thanks everybody for the input

My vote is to leave the knives at home and bring some shortish scissors. Makes easy work with just a couple small cuts. increased my cleaning speed by a significant amount

Offline HntnFsh

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2023, 06:25:03 AM »
We use a combo of scissors and knives. The scissors really help.

Offline Jpmiller

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2023, 06:25:28 AM »
Alright that makes more sense. We had a long commute coming from Skagit county but they were dug and in the cooler within an hour so should be okay. the consensus on the internet was to clean them right away so going forward we will bring a paring knife and clean the broken ones on the beach. Thanks everybody for the input

My vote is to leave the knives at home and bring some shortish scissors. Makes easy work with just a couple small cuts. increased my cleaning speed by a significant amount

A buddy turned me into using scissor, I still use the knife to take the shell off but switched to scissors afterwards. It is quite a bit simpler in my experience.

Offline syoungs

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2023, 06:40:49 AM »
i do keep an oyster knife handy, but dont have to use it much.
I toss a bunch of clams into the hottest tap water I can run, let em soak in that for a minute or so and they tend to open up enough to just use my fingers to crack the shells apart. From there its nothing but scissor work. after they are clean to my liking they hit a pot full of lightly salted ice water for a rest until they get packaged.

Offline Stein

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2023, 06:42:33 AM »
I've never tossed one unless it's very small and really mangled.  It does take more time and you end up with less meat but it's still a clam.

Offline Sitka_Blacktail

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2023, 07:05:58 AM »
If you shell your clams with boiling water, you'll find your recovery will improve.  Get the water boiling and some clams in a colander. (I usually do about a half a limit per dip) Also have a container full of cold water near the stove, large enough to hold all the clams you are cleaning.  This is a very important step.  Once the water is boiling, dip the colander into the boiling water so all the clams are covered and count off 8 seconds, 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004, 1005, 1006, 1007, 1008. Then immediately dump the clams into the cold water. This keeps them from cooking which toughens them and makes them chewier when you fry them.  You might think 8 seconds in boiling water would kill and start cooking them, but the clams will still be alive and wriggling in your hand when you are cleaning them.  The boiling water will melt the necktie (the clear membrane that holds the shell on the clam) and make it easy to separate the clam from the shell by hand, if the shell hasn't already fallen off the clam by itself. When you are done cooling the clams in the cold water, remove all the shells from the cold water and you are ready to clean.

I use a small to medium pair of scissors with a narrow blade. I first cut the tip off then split the neck. With sharp scissors, you can usually just slide the scissors through the bottom of the two tubes in the neck and split it without using a scissor motion. Then I pinch the digger from the neck and body.  If you do it right, you pinch all the gills and guts away with the digger. This leaves a fairly clean body and neck which I rinse and put in the bowl i use for finished products. If there are any gills or anything else left on the neck portion, it's easy to trim it off with the scissors. One example would be if you broke a clam and got sand into the meat. You want to cut away the sandy part as it's no fun grinding your teeth with sand.  Next, I use the scissors to cut the guts and gills off the digger. You can get most of it with one cut. Most of what's left I again use a pinching method to squeeze out of the digger. Then I split the digger by holding it with the foot pointed at me with the tip up. Again, you can just slide the blade through and then snip with the scissors. Once open, it's easy to clean the last of the veins of the guts away.

Once the clams are shelled, I can easily clean a clam a minute and a limit in 15 minutes.
A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears. ~ Michel de Montaigne

Offline Bullkllr

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2023, 08:22:30 AM »
^That^ from Sitka, is the definitive method  :tup:

Growing up, we never used hot water on razors- just 'filetted' away the shell from the body. The hot water gets rid of the membrane and results in a cleaner final product and it doesn't affect the quality if you do it that way!
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Offline cjjcb

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2023, 08:58:29 AM »
Just don't forget that "Under state law, a daily limit consists of the first 15 clams dug regardless of size or condition"... so throwing back smallies or mangles clams is technically illegal. Beaches are so crowded, ya never know who's watching...
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Offline 2MANY

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2023, 10:43:28 AM »
Scalding makes for tougher clams.
Cut em out of the shell.

Offline Gentrys

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2023, 10:52:54 AM »
Blanching the clams doesn't affect the flavor or texture if done right.  Dip in simmering water, they'll pop open within a few seconds, then immediately pull them out and place in a bowl of ice water.  Super-easy way to start the cleaning process.

Offline Stein

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2023, 11:07:18 AM »
I scald them as well, it takes about 2 seconds for them to pop open, I just hold them by the neck and dunk them one at a time when I'm cleaning them and then toss them into a bucket of cold water.

Offline 2MANY

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2023, 12:23:15 PM »
Ever try it the other way?

Offline Bullkllr

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2023, 12:30:58 PM »
Ever try it the other way?

We only used a knife to remove the shells forever (like 50 years, give or take that I remember).

Since trying the quick dunk in hot water and immediate plunge into ice water I think it's better. I notice zero difference in toughness, but definitely get cleaner clams.
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Offline jstrickc

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2023, 12:48:55 PM »
The broken/trashed clams go into the chowder bag.

Offline Teepee96

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2023, 01:54:23 PM »
Lotta good info thanks for all the replies. We checked all the clams when we got home and even the busted up ones were still moving around so we weren't too concerned. Gonna try using a shovel on the next go around to see if we break less up and probably bring the crab cooker down to process on the beach as I think we're shooting for a full weekend of digs (7 hour round trip and cleaning in one day was a little much for the wife and I)

Thanks again everybody for the help

Offline vandeman17

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2023, 02:01:06 PM »
Growing up, it was family tradition to spend mothers day weekend at the ocean and often times back then, clamming was open. It was a huge group or 20-30 people and we would all go out and dig our limits which led to a ton of clams to clean. We followed the same method Sitka mentioned in assembly line fashion. Some fond memories of being like 8 years old and being able to help out the adults.
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Offline GWP

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2023, 03:21:12 PM »
We have water simmering on the stove with ice water right next to it. Bucket of clams on the counter. I use a strainer scoop to pull them out of the hot water directly into the ice water.
Most of the shells fall off when I pull them out of the ice water. Even if they don’t, just a push with fingers and they come off.
Next step is two bowls in the sink. Shells and guts, and cleaned clams.
The nice thing about a shovel is you can feel the size while you are down there.
I switched to using a ClamHawg and found it much easier on the old bod.
We grind all of ours and vacuum/freeze them for chowder or clam fritters.
Cuterebra are NOT cute!

Offline Stein

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2023, 03:31:17 PM »
Ever try it the other way?

Yeah, started doing it with a knife about 20 years ago.  Once I tried the scald/scissors method I'll never go back.  For me, it's about 2-3x faster and I end up with a far superior product.  Plus, I can teach a noob in about 5 minutes and then sit back and sip a beer and watch.

Offline Sitka_Blacktail

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2023, 06:18:38 PM »
Scalding makes for tougher clams.
Cut em out of the shell.

When I scald them, the are still moving around til I clean them. What really makes clams tough is overcooking them. The secret is getting the pan sizzling hot. Then cook them just long enough to brown each side.  You can cut the necks with a fork.
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Offline opdinkslayer

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2023, 06:54:07 PM »
Sitka is correct with everything he posted. My grandpa was a commercial digger back in the day & taught just as Sitka described in his posts. Cook them hot & fast to golden & then proceed to destroy the diggers before anybody else gets any! :chuckle:

Offline Magnum_Willys

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2023, 11:38:48 AM »
Back was a bit sore clamming yesterday, so I mortgaged the home and got a new clam shovel.  It is way easier on the old back for sure and no broken shells.

Tried some cleaning methods and went back to the old REVERSE method, just makes a better clam steak to pound and fry.     After quick dip in boiling water then dropped in Ice bath to remove shells -

Opposite zipper you see two scallops on each end of the guts.  With sissors nip these on the inside on both sides of guts.  Cut from neckside scallop all the way to end of neck - both tube holes.

Turn over, pull out digger - should come out with guts.  Trim gut end off digger then insert sissors and butterfly it tip up and clean.

Clean rest of clam using sissors to just touch the gills to remove - doesn't take much.   Now ready to pound into a nice big steak.

Offline sockeye66

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #28 on: May 07, 2023, 04:04:25 PM »
If you shell your clams with boiling water, you'll find your recovery will improve.  Get the water boiling and some clams in a colander. (I usually do about a half a limit per dip) Also have a container full of cold water near the stove, large enough to hold all the clams you are cleaning.  This is a very important step.  Once the water is boiling, dip the colander into the boiling water so all the clams are covered and count off 8 seconds, 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004, 1005, 1006, 1007, 1008. Then immediately dump the clams into the cold water. This keeps them from cooking which toughens them and makes them chewier when you fry them.  You might think 8 seconds in boiling water would kill and start cooking them, but the clams will still be alive and wriggling in your hand when you are cleaning them.  The boiling water will melt the necktie (the clear membrane that holds the shell on the clam) and make it easy to separate the clam from the shell by hand, if the shell hasn't already fallen off the clam by itself. When you are done cooling the clams in the cold water, remove all the shells from the cold water and you are ready to clean.

I use a small to medium pair of scissors with a narrow blade. I first cut the tip off then split the neck. With sharp scissors, you can usually just slide the scissors through the bottom of the two tubes in the neck and split it without using a scissor motion. Then I pinch the digger from the neck and body.  If you do it right, you pinch all the gills and guts away with the digger. This leaves a fairly clean body and neck which I rinse and put in the bowl i use for finished products. If there are any gills or anything else left on the neck portion, it's easy to trim it off with the scissors. One example would be if you broke a clam and got sand into the meat. You want to cut away the sandy part as it's no fun grinding your teeth with sand.  Next, I use the scissors to cut the guts and gills off the digger. You can get most of it with one cut. Most of what's left I again use a pinching method to squeeze out of the digger. Then I split the digger by holding it with the foot pointed at me with the tip up. Again, you can just slide the blade through and then snip with the scissors. Once open, it's easy to clean the last of the veins of the guts away.

Once the clams are shelled, I can easily clean a clam a minute and a limit in 15 minutes.
that's the way we've doing it for years.i should say my wife does it that way
 :chuckle:

Offline trophyhunt

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2023, 07:10:51 PM »
The broken/trashed clams go into the chowder bag.
they stay at the beach, seagulls got to eat too..
“In common with”..... not so much!!

Offline Limhangerslayer

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #30 on: May 07, 2023, 08:30:40 PM »
Back was a bit sore clamming yesterday, so I mortgaged the home and got a new clam shovel.  It is way easier on the old back for sure and no broken shells.

Tried some cleaning methods and went back to the old REVERSE method, just makes a better clam steak to pound and fry.     After quick dip in boiling water then dropped in Ice bath to remove shells -

Opposite zipper you see two scallops on each end of the guts.  With sissors nip these on the inside on both sides of guts.  Cut from neckside scallop all the way to end of neck - both tube holes.

Turn over, pull out digger - should come out with guts.  Trim gut end off digger then insert sissors and butterfly it tip up and clean.

Clean rest of clam using sissors to just touch the gills to remove - doesn't take much.   Now ready to pound into a nice big steak.
you’re missing 5 clams!

Offline Jake Dogfish

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #31 on: May 08, 2023, 02:15:02 PM »
The broken/trashed clams go into the chowder bag.
they stay at the beach, seagulls got to eat too..

“All clams dug are part of digger’s limit - you may not return any razor clams to the beach or water.”
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Offline Magnum_Willys

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Re: Razor clam cleaning question
« Reply #32 on: May 08, 2023, 02:36:59 PM »
Back was a bit sore clamming yesterday, so I mortgaged the home and got a new clam shovel.  It is way easier on the old back for sure and no broken shells.

Tried some cleaning methods and went back to the old REVERSE method, just makes a better clam steak to pound and fry.     After quick dip in boiling water then dropped in Ice bath to remove shells -

Opposite zipper you see two scallops on each end of the guts.  With sissors nip these on the inside on both sides of guts.  Cut from neckside scallop all the way to end of neck - both tube holes.

Turn over, pull out digger - should come out with guts.  Trim gut end off digger then insert sissors and butterfly it tip up and clean.

Clean rest of clam using sissors to just touch the gills to remove - doesn't take much.   Now ready to pound into a nice big steak.
you’re missing 5 clams!
   Good spotting!   Oregon !

 


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