Clam is a common name for several kinds of bivalve molluscs. The word
is often applied only to those that are edible and live as infauna,
spending most of their lives partially buried in the sand of the ocean
floor. Clams have two shells of equal size connected by two adductor
muscles and have a powerful burrowing foot. Clams in the culinary
sense do not live attached to a substrate (whereas oysters and mussels
do) and do not live near the bottom (whereas scallops do). In culinary
usage, clams are commonly eaten marine bivalves, as in clam digging
and the resulting soup, clam chowder. Many edible clams such as
palourde clams are oval or triangular; however, razor clams have an
elongated parallel-sided shell, suggesting an old-fashioned straight
Some clams have life cycles of only one year, while at least one may
be over 500 years old. All clams have two calcareous shells or
valves joined near a hinge with a flexible ligament, and all are
A clam shell (species Spisula solidissima) at Sandy Hook, New Jersey
2 As food
2.1 North America
2.5 Trinidad and Tobago
4 As currency
6 See also
8 External links
Littleneck clams, small hard clams, species Mercenaria mercenaria
A clam's shell consists of two (usually equal) valves, which are
connected by a hinge joint and a ligament that can be external or
internal. The ligament provides tension to bring the valves apart,
while one or two adductor muscles can contract to close the valves.
Clams also have kidneys, a heart, a mouth, a stomach, a nervous system
and an anus. Many have a siphon.
A clam dish
Clams simmering in a white wine sauce
In culinary use, within the eastern coast of the United States and
large swathes of the Maritimes of Canada, the term "clam" most often
refers to the hard clam Mercenaria mercenaria. It may also refer to a
few other common edible species, such as the soft-shell clam, Mya
arenaria and the ocean quahog, Arctica islandica. Another species
commercially exploited on the
Atlantic Coast of the United States is
the surf clam Spisula solidissima. Scallops are also used for food
nationwide, but not cockles: they are more difficult to get than in
Europe because of their habit of being farther out in the tide than
European species.  Up and down the coast of the Eastern U.S.,
the bamboo clam, ensis directus, is prized by Americans for making
clam strips although because of its nature of burrowing into the sand
very close to the beach, it cannot be harvested by mechanical means
without damaging the beaches.
On the U.S. West Coast, there are several species that have been
consumed for thousands of years, evidenced by middens full of
clamshells near the shore and their consumption by tribes like the
Chumash of California and Nisqually of Washington State.The
butter clam, Saxidomus gigantea, the Pacific razor clam, Siliqua
patula,  gaper clams Tresus capax, the geoduck clam, Panopea
generosa and the Pismo clam,
Tivela stultorum are all eaten as
Clams can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, baked or fried. They can also
be made into clam chowder, clams casino,
Clam cakes, stuffies, or they
can be cooked using hot rocks and seaweed in a New England clam bake.
On the West Coast, they are an ingredient in making cioppino and local
variants of ceviche
In Japan, clams are often an ingredient of mixed seafood dishes. They
can also be made into hot pot, miso soup or Tsukudani. The more
commonly used varieties of clams in Japanese cooking are the Shijimi
Corbicula japonica), the Asari (Venerupis philippinarum) and the
Hamaguri (Meretrix lusoria).
In Italy, clams are often an ingredient of mixed seafood dishes or are
eaten together with pasta. The more commonly used varieties of clams
in Italian cooking are the Vongola (Venerupis decussata), the Cozza
(Mytilus galloprovincialis) and the
Tellina (Donax trunculus). Though
Dattero di mare (
Lithophaga lithophaga) was once eaten, overfishing
drove it to the verge of extinction (it takes 15 to 35 years to reach
adult size and could only be harvested by smashing the calcarean rocks
that form its habitat) and the Italian government has declared it an
endangered species since 1998 and its harvest and sale are forbidden.
Clams are eaten more in the coastal regions of India, especially in
the Konkan, Kerala,
Kerala clams are used to make curries and fried with coconut. In
Malabar region it is known as "elambakka" and in middle kerala it is
known as "kakka".
Clam curry made with coconut is a dish from Malabar
especially in the
Thalassery region. On the south western coast of
India, also known as the
Konkan region of Maharashtra, clams are used
in curries and side dishes, like Tisaryachi Ekshipi, which is clams
with one shell on.
Beary Muslim households in the
prepare a main dish with clams called Kowldo Pinde.
Trinidad and Tobago
Local fishermen sell them in rural markets.
In Judaism, clams are considered non-kosher (treif) along with all
other shellfish, which lack a fish's fins and scales.
Some species of clams, particularly Mercenaria mercenaria, were in the
past used by the Algonquians of Eastern North America to manufacture
wampum, a type of shell money.
One of the world's largest clam fossils (187 cm), a Sphenoceramus
steenstrupi specimen from Greenland in the Geological Museum in
Maxima clam, Tridacna maxima
Grooved carpet shell: Ruditapes decussatus
Hard clam or Northern Quahog: Mercenaria mercenaria
Manila clam: Venerupis philippinarum
Soft clam: Mya arenaria
Atlantic surf clam: Spisula solidissima
Ocean quahog: Arctica islandica
Pacific razor clam: Siliqua patula
Tivela stultorum (8 inch shell on display at the
Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce)
Panopea abrupta or
Panope generosa (largest burrowing clam in
Atlantic jackknife clam:
Lyrate Asiatic hard clam: Meretrix lyrata
Ark clams, family
Arcidae (most popular in
Indonesia and Singapore)
Not usually considered edible:
Nut clams or pointed nut clams, family Nuculidae
Duck clams or trough shells, family Mactridae
Marsh clams, family Corbiculidae
File clams, family Limidae
Giant clam: Tridacna gigas
Asian or Asiatic clam: genus Corbicula
Peppery furrow shell: Scrobicularia plana
List of clam dishes
List of clam dishes – dishes and foods prepared using clams
^ "Clam". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica.
^ "Clams recipes". BBC. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
^ "Clam". Oxford Dictionaries – Dictionary, Thesaurus, &
^ Danielle Elliot (14 November 2013). "Ming the Clam, World's Oldest
Animal, Was Actually 507 Years Old". CBS News. Retrieved 15 November
^ "harvesting cockles".
^ "dredging of clams" (PDF).
^ "Shell Midden Analysis". science.jrank.org. Retrieved
^ "Nisqually People and the River – Yelm History Project".
www.yelmhistoryproject.com. Retrieved 2018-03-10.
^ "What Did the Chumash Eat? Synonym". Retrieved 2018-03-10.
^ "Plenty of clams, oysters in Puget Sound and Hood Canal". The
Seattle Times. 2015-06-27. Retrieved 2018-03-10.
^ Kelly, Mike. "Dig Those Razor Clams". North Coast Journal. Retrieved
^ Lackner, Bill. "Oregon clam chowder". Coos Bay World. Retrieved
^ "All About Geoduck: The Life of a (Delicious) Oversized Mollusk".
www.seriouseats.com. Retrieved 2018-03-10.
^ "Digging for Pismo clams at San Diego Beaches". Retrieved
^ "razor clams Langdon Cook". langdoncook.com. Retrieved
^ Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 83 and 84
^ Kurlansky, Mark (2006), The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell,
Penguin Group, pp. 16, 30–31, ISBN 0-345-47638-7,
Look up clam in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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