When buying clams, be sure that they are still alive. They should be tightly closed. If you have one that is open, tap it. If it's alive, it will respond to you.
Never eat or prepare dead shellfish! Also, open the package that they come in to allow them to breath till you're ready to clean them.
When cooking with clams, you want to take care in cleaning them. Their shells have lots of grooves good for holding dirt. This dirt will loosen up while the clams cook and will end up in your broth or sauce. No one wants to eat dirt!
1. Place the clams in a bowl.
2. Fill the bowl with cool water.
3. Let this sit for 10-20 minutes. This will help to clean some of the saltwater from inside the clams.
4. Remove the clams from the water. (Do not pour them out, use your hands to lift them out.)
5. Take one at a time and scrub it under running water.
6. Rinse it off and pat dry.
Once all the clams are clean, they are ready to cook.
Clams in White Wine Sauce
Other mollusks, such as mussels should be cleaned the same way. Mussels have something that's commonly called it's beard. You'll see a bunch of fibers hanging out of the shell, that is the beard. To remove this, use a towel to hold it firmly with your fingers. Then, tug the fibers out and toward the hinge. This should remove it without killing the mussel.