just last week my mom re-instated a family tradition i had here-into no knowledge of: steamed clams. sure, my grandmother had told me she had watched Her grandmother digging clams with indigenous women on the shores of puget sound, or that during the depression they always had plenty of clams to eat, but i think this was the First time i had actually eaten clams with my family. maybe the poverty/clam orientation had to have a few years to shake off. but here i am, the next generation, wishing like heck that we had more access to healthy shorelines. talk about an abundant resource.
We dig them in moderation up on the Islands frequently. At this point I'm just sort of closing my eyes, plugging my ears, and saying, "lalalalala" when I start to wonder about heavy metal contamination. They sure are yummy, though, and the shells can be crushed and used as a garden amendment.
Before you go harvest your own, though, make sure to call your local Red Tide hotline. It only takes a minute to find out if it is safe to harvest or not.
Washington State's Marine Biotoxin Hotline: 1-800-562-5632
Principal - Terra Phoenix Design
posted 11 years ago
Just the clamming itself is fun even if they aren't eaten. Toss them back afterwards. A little annoying for the clams but not bad for the beach and you. Gives a person a good reason to hang around a NW beach for an afternoon drinking beer (or wine or worse) and noticing the tidepools.
I remember getting to eat some freshly dug clams while visiting someone in the seattle area. yummy! back then heavy metal contamination never even crossed my mind. But now every time I think of that trip, for some reason that is the thing that stands out the most, along with going to hurricane ridge.
this thread brings back memories of when i was a kid living in Maine. seafood was a steady diet back then. each of us kids had our own 'lobstah' trap. and we would use a thread with a safety pin and piece of clam on it to catch crabs. then there was the digging of clams! we had gooey mucky grey mudflats that we dug in. the kind that sucks your foot wear off when you try and walk in it. the tide shifted every 6 hours, so timing was everything. we could find the clam holes as the tide was going out easier. in shore we dug steamers. a little farther out, we dug cherry clams. way far out were the big quahogs. we used a flying saucer, kid's sled', to carry the pales around on the mud. then, i remember the sad day when red tide came about...
we live in eastern washington, and i haven't found any clams here...yet...freshwater that is!