What is Softshell clam (Mya arenaria)?

Softshell clam Softshell clam

Common names for Softshell clam

Steamer, longneck, belly clam, Ipswich clam, maninose, squirt clam, fryer, gaper

Other languages for Softshell clam

  • French name: Mye
  • Italian name: Mia
  • German name: Sandklaffmuschel

Introduction to Softshell clam

The term “softshell” is a misnomer for this clam, since its oval-shaped shell is really very thin and fragile. Softshell clams range in size from 1 1/2 to 3 inches. Their shell is unable to fully shut due to a projecting siphon. As a result, softshell clams have a shorter shelf life than their hardshell relatives with closed shells. Though softshell clam beds are located all along the Atlantic Coast, Maine, Cape Cod, and Maryland are the primary commercial suppliers. They are collected with rakes or churning hoes with short handles (shaped like inverted garden hoes). Softshell clams may be gritty because to their gaping shells. To cleanse the stomach of sand and dirt, soak clams in salted water with a cup of cornmeal. As is the case with many bivalves, softshell clams are susceptible to bacterial contamination and “red tide” outbreaks. Harvest locations are carefully monitored and closed when required to protect public health.

Product profile for Softshell clam

The softshell protects you from the elements. The delicate meat of the clam is sweet and somewhat salty. Tender and velvety are the big bellies. The hue of the meat varies from ivory to gold, with occasional black spots. The siphon should be strong and plump, not floppy and dry, and the shell should be entire and clean. A black membrane covers the siphon, which is removed before the cooked clam is consumed.

Cooking tips for Softshell clam

Softshell crabs are not consumed uncooked. They’re the best clam for steaming in the shell or fried in batter or crumbs. Place softshells in a large pot with 1 inch of water to steam. Bring the water to a boil, cover, and steam open the clams in approximately 5 minutes. Overcooking makes clams tough. Cook just until the shells open. Fresh water should never be used to keep clams since it will destroy them. Refrigerate in an airtight container.

Nutrition facts for Softshell clam

Calories: 74 Fat Calories: 8 Total Fat: 0.9 g Saturated Fat: 0.2 g Cholesterol: 34 mg Sodium: 56 mg Protein: 12.7 g Omega 3: 0.2 g

Primary product forms for Softshell clam

Live Fresh: Whole (steamed), Meats (whole) Frozen: Raw meats, Steamed meats Value-added: Breaded (fried)

Global supply for Softshell clam

Canada, France, UK, United States, Iran