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  As is the case with many varieties of shellfish, the best preparation for steamer clams is the least preparation. Simply boil or steam the little bivalves until they obligingly open their shells.
 
 
 
 

Manila steamer clams were accidentally introduced into Pacific Northwest waters from their native Asia. In the early days of oyster farming Pacific oyster “seed” was imported from Japan. Since oysters and clams live in the same inter-tidal areas the nearly microscopic baby clams were able to stowaway and cross the ocean in shipments of oyster “seed.” When the young oysters were planted in their new homes in North America so were the clams, their habitat sharing neighbors. Manila clams now reproduce with good success in many protected areas on the Pacific coast.

Our native Littleneck clam is similar in size and culinary characteristics to the Manila clam but is less hardy. After harvesting, a

Manila clam can live for more than a week under refrigeration. The Littleneck may survive for two or three days if not mishandled. In recent years many oyster farms on the Pacific Coast have expanded into Manila clam farming. Readily available seed or juvenile clams from hatcheries and the success of Manila clams in the marketplace have combined to make them the dominant commercial clam all around the Pacific.

As is the case with many varieties of shellfish, the best preparation for steamer clams is the least preparation . Simply boil or steam the little bivalves until they obligingly open their shells; serve with bread or crackers and melted butter.


 

 


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