Can I Soak Clams in Tap Water?

Clams should be cleaned of any debris in their digestive systems prior to cooking them. MasterClass recommends soaking them in cold water first for at least ten minutes, before tapping with your finger; live clams will usually close upon tapping; those that do not open within about one minute must be considered dead and should be discarded immediately.

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Many shellfish recipes call for soaking shellfish in salty water or cornmeal to rid their bodies of debris, but this can shorten their lives considerably. To maximize flavor and freshness in clams, soak them in cold water that contains as much salt as seawater; they’ll naturally filter it all out as they filter food through their bodies – leaving behind clean and delicious clams for you to enjoy!

To properly soak clams, pour them into a large bowl and fill it with cold or salty water to cover them by approximately 34-1 inch. Make sure the temperature of the water matches that of where they were harvested from – you want them soaked for at least an hour, ideally more!

Once soaked, transfer the clams to another bowl of cold, salted water and let them soak again for approximately 20 minutes. This second soaking allows them to release any additional salt, sand, or grit that has collected in their bodies or shells. Rinse under cool water then use a stiff brush to scrub their shells clean. Before cooking them you must also thoroughly rinse under cool water with cool water while brushing away any remaining dirt from their surfaces with cool water before beginning your recipe.

Use a clean bowl filled with cold tap water to soak your clams for several hours if possible, to remove grit from them before cooking them. This method may take slightly longer but will still produce clean and tasty clams that are ready to eat.

Edible Jersey suggests using the salted water from which the clams were harvested as a soak solution before cooking them, in order to preserve their precious juice. Doing this prevents loss of precious nutrients.

No matter which clams you buy, what matters is that they are fresh and clean. When purchasing from restaurants or seafood shops, they should already have been cleaned of any debris within their shells; when purchasing from grocery stores they should have been refrigerated without signs of spoilage; if in doubt ask the fishmonger at your store to check them.


Clams often get a bad rep for being difficult to clean, but that is far from being true. All it takes to succeed in cleaning them successfully is being prepared ahead of time so as to prevent biting into too much grit – something which could destroy an otherwise delicious bowl of clams!

Clam lovers may argue that you don’t need to soak clams prior to cooking them, however most clams sold at grocery stores and seafood counters come pre-purged, so it is recommended that they be soaked just prior to their preparation. According to AllRecipes, this process allows grit or sand that may have collected in their shells over their lives as well as during transportation from a marine environment back into your market for removal before cooking begins.

To begin this process, fill a bowl or container with cold, salted water and submerge your clams in it for 20 minutes before rinsing them off under cool running water. This step is essential because it enables you to identify dead ones or those showing any sign of being off color; also any slimy jelly-like coating on their shells indicates they may have gone bad and should be disposed of.

Edible Jersey reports that soaking isn’t as effective as you might expect; rather, the clams will still release any digestive waste into the fresh water they are submerged in. Therefore, for optimal results when it comes to soaking clams it would be best to bring home a bucket of seawater where you dug them and use that instead as the soakwater source.

If that’s not an option, creating a decent soak at home using this formula should suffice: dissolving enough non-chlorinated water (preferably kosher salt) to cover your clams completely in non-chlorinated water ideally with similar salinity levels to the ocean (around 35 parts per thousand) will produce optimal results.


Fresh clams should have tightly closed shells and emit an appetizing fragrance, while any with openings in their shell or an unpleasant fishy scent are likely not suitable. These should be immediately discarded to preserve freshness for future consumption.

Soaking clams prior to cooking helps them become cleaner by forcing their natural filter feeders, the mollusks, to filter out grit and sand from their system and thus become cleaner for use in soups and chowders.

To properly soak clams, it’s essential that the water be cold, rather than hot; otherwise it could shock them and kill them off. In addition, be sure to add salt based on how many clams there are as well as which kind.

Attribute water with sea or kosher salt as this will mimic the salinity found in ocean environments where clams reside, and aim for temperatures between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal soaking conditions.

Once you are ready to cook the clams, drain and rinse them again before using in your dish. Additionally, it is a good idea to scrub their shells using a scrub brush in order to remove any dirt. After cleaning them properly, they should be placed back into a bowl of cool water for 20 minutes before they are added back into their original container.

Alternately, you could soak the clams for 30 minutes in highly salty water; this option works well if you have more time than necessary to make them. Make sure the water tastes similar to seawater.

Clams should be eaten soon after soaking, but always inspect them for signs of spoilage or contamination. If there is any grit in their shells, discard and start over.

When purchasing clams to cook immediately, shop in stores with high turnover of seafood – this will guarantee the freshest possible clams. In addition, check expiration dates when shopping – most can be eaten within three to five days after being bought, while they’ll last much longer when kept refrigerated.


Clams that are still alive should be eaten, while dead clams should be discarded because they will quickly spoil and develop an off-flavor, potentially leading to food poisoning. To test if a clam is dead, gently tap it with your finger and watch for its reaction; live clams will close their shell upon being tapped, while dead ones remain open or may feel slimy to touch. To determine whether an clam is alive or dead use the following method:

Keep clams fresh for multiple days by placing them in the refrigerator in a bowl of cold water. They should last at least several days in there, but to be on the safe side it is wise to check on them periodically and remove any that have opened during storage.

Before cooking clams, it is often advised to soak them in fresh, cool water, but this step is not always necessary. Ideally, fresh clams should be eaten within 24 hours of being purchased or at most up to one week later in the fridge if kept fresh in an airtight container. When selecting fresh clams look for bright, clean-smelling shells without holes or cracks that indicate freshness; any with signs of decay should be discarded immediately.

If soaking your clams in cold, fresh water before cooking them, be sure to change it frequently to remove contaminants and ensure your clams do not become toxic. Also avoid placing too many in one bowl as they will quickly suffocate without proper ventilation; placing them all in one layer in a shallow dish covered by a damp towel prevents drying out while providing needed ventilation for each one.

Soaking clams can help remove any sand or other debris trapped within their shells; however, this step usually isn’t required when purchasing from fishmongers or supermarkets as most have already been purge-purged and are ready to be cooked when removed from their tanks.