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Thread: Caring for clams

  1. #1

    Default Caring for clams

    I'll probably be digging for clams at Clam Gulch this Saturday morning. How can I keep them alive until I get them back to the Anchorage area Saturday evening or even Sunday sometime if I stop and fish the Russian on my way home? I figured maybe just a bucket of saltwater, but would they run out of oxygen? Or maybe no water, just on ice. I'd hate to arrive home with a bucket of dead clams. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Can be tough to keep them alive the whole weekend, but keep them in salt water and change it out once or twice and if you have a big cooler put your bucket in it to keep them cold. Try to clean them soon after your done digging if possible.

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    Member breausaw's Avatar
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    Default keep them cool

    If you keep them cool and out of the sun they will do fine, placing a wet towel across the top of your storage container helps. If you put them in a plastic bucket donít seal the top, they need air circulation. Keep fresh salt water on them as long as possible, this will help clean them out.

    Good luck, hope youíre able to find some big ones.
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by breausaw View Post
    If you keep them cool and out of the sun they will do fine, placing a wet towel across the top of your storage container helps. If you put them in a plastic bucket donít seal the top, they need air circulation. Keep fresh salt water on them as long as possible, this will help clean them out.

    Good luck, hope youíre able to find some big ones.
    Do you mean keeping them in water all this time, or taking them out water but keeping them covered with a wet towel? Thanks.

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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    do not keep them in water.
    keep them covered, cool and on moist sea-water dampened seaweed or towels, and covered by the same. they will last a day or more as long as they stay cool.
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  6. #6

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    Maybe on top of a layer of ice? Man, I've gotta get out of the house.

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    Default clams kept in water

    Quote Originally Posted by homerdave View Post
    do not keep them in water.
    keep them covered, cool and on moist sea-water dampened seaweed or towels, and covered by the same. they will last a day or more as long as they stay cool.
    HD can you expound on this? I've kept'm in (cool) water in a cooler for like a day after and from what I understand this allows them to excrete what they're currently digesting, so there is less #$%^& to clean out of their digestive tract. I've heard of people adding corn meal too so they can eat.

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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    he problem with keeping them in water is that if one clam dies then it fouls the water and the other clams will die very quickly.
    personally i think that the "corn meal" (or whatever) cleansing is a wives tale... left alone steamers will purge whether or not there is anything in the water, and since razors are gutted and gilled why bother?
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    Default care of clams

    I guess I just haven't had one go bad before... but I'm kinda persnickety about care of my edibles after harvest.

    I freeze my own ice jugs (1 gallon milk jugs) and put a couple of them into the water too so its always cold; maybe that's a reason.

    Yeah, I've never added clam food to my water either.

    Gutted and gilled yes, but the inside part of the clam does have an intestinal tract which I remove from that inside part; takes some time, and likely many others throw the whole insides away. If its white and firm it stays and if its dark or slimy/icky it goes... Anyone else care to chime in on this?

    Thanks for the extra info hd.

  10. #10

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    First...what Homer Dave said already.

    Second, Been digging for zillion years, if you wanted to get real serious lay them out in a cooler on top of a bed of ice but keep the cooler free of standing water. Cornmeal is a waste on razors, why, you clean them anyway. Good luck...love a good cooked razor
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  11. #11

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    It's all about the heat shock proteins! Keep them in Sea water (that you gathrered a long way from any stream as long as you can and keep the water cold. after being away from freash water for more than say 10yrs do what tdelarm said and put them on ice with no standing water.
    Look up heat shock protiens if you really want to get into the science of it.

  12. #12

    Smile Had to chime in...

    Hey! I clammed at Ninilchik Over Memorial day weekend. I had a few years ago too and the message from folks around was to keep the clams alive. Being green at the time, I washed the sand off them in the Nin. River,... oops. They all died due to the fresh water. This time I decided that keeping them aired, cool and alive was just more than seemed neccesary. Not the cool part but keeping them alive seemed nutty. So, I rinsed each clam w/ my water jug water back at the truck and put them on a plastic bag on a bag of ice. Many were still alive though some weren't and some were just necks and pieces of bigger pieces but all turned out great. For a clamming turned Russian trip I'd just bag 'em and toss strategically on ice in a cooler and call it. Gut, gill, rinse when you get home and they'll be golden.

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    I went clamming a few weeks ago and kept the clams for a couple of days before I got them home and cleaned. Here's what worked for me.

    Day 1: Clammed. Separated out the broken and dead clams, cleaned and ate those for dinner. The rest went in a cooler and covered with a couple of inches of seawater.

    Day 2: In the a.m. poured out the water and replaced with fresh seawater. Did the same thing that evening. Was given the advice to keep them as cold as possible and they'd be fine on ice even if they were dead. So that evening bought a couple of bags of ice and just added it right into the seawater in the cooler.

    Day 3: Drove home and cleaned the clams in the afternoon. I expected the clams to all be dead (from the ice melting and turning the seawater brackish. I was surprised to find that about 50% were still alive. It was cool enough that lots of the ice was still solid so maybe the water wasn't all that brackish. Cleaned them all...the dead ones were still fine, no off smells, slime, or evidence of going bad. Had some more for dinner and the rest went into the freezer.

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    Default solid ice in plastic milk jugs

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisS View Post
    Was given the advice to keep them as cold as possible and they'd be fine on ice even if they were dead. So that evening bought a couple of bags of ice and just added it right into the seawater in the cooler.

    Day 3: Drove home and cleaned the clams in the afternoon. I expected the clams to all be dead (from the ice melting and turning the seawater brackish.
    That's exactly why I like my plastic milk jugs frozen solid; when the ice melts you don't get fresh water on your clams. And if your food cooler you don't kill your egg cartons or waterlog your food.

    On the downside, if the cooler is in your truck or ATV and you hit bumps those 8 pound battering rams in your cooler can damage a lot, so watch for that.

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    Long ago I learned that cleaning hundreds of clams wasn't my cup of tea so I go more often and dig less. Besides they stay real fresh in the sand. To keep them alive I have a bucket that holds 2-3 dozen clams. I place them footside down and they are stacked together so they are in the same position as in the sand. I cover with seawater and change often when on the beach. For traveling I cover with sea water and put a piece of ice on top and keep the bucket in the shade. Every once in awhile i shake vigorously to replenish the air in the water. They will be fine for a couple of days this way. Keep cool and airated. A live clam will not have sand in them. They don't injest sand. Live clams do not need cleaning out, just remove any dark matter and eat the rest. Dead clams will hold sand and should be cleaned and eaten asap. I like them raw on the beach.
    Pete

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