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If you ever had cherrystone clams please, let me know if this is how it is when you eat them.

Hi all,

my first post here.
I’m very inexperienced with cooking - my wife is away oversea for the summer vacation and I’m on my own. The doctor said my blood is low on iron. According to my web searches the food with most iron is clams. I bought canned baby clams, ate it just like that with a little bit of lemon squeezed, and they tasted great. Then I decided to buy fresh clams and steam them following these directions http://www.wikihow.com/Steam-Clams
In the store they had only a few left from the small clams and I got also some of the bigger clams labeled Cherrystone. I steamed them all together and took each clam out of the steaming as soon as it opened. The small clams tasted great although in comparison to the canned clams they were a little bit tougher for chewing. But the big, cherrystone clams, were so tough and stringy they were impossible to chew. Eating them felt like chewing very tough little rubber bags filled with juice. I can pierce with my teeth and suck the juice inside but the rest which is most of the meat I could chew forever and it will never separate. I ended up taking the meat out of my mouth and ripping it into small shreds with my fingers which allowed me to swallow them. I thought maybe I undercooked them and steamed again some of the clams but this didn’t help - just made them harder.

Is this how it is supposed to be or something went wrong?

I will greatly appreciate your input.

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  1. Cherrystones are tastiest and most tender when eaten raw. I have eaten many dozens at a sitting. This afternoon I ate 4 dozen raw oysters, but that's a shellfish of a different color.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Veggo

      You betcha. No need to chew; just let them slide down the gullet.

      1. re: mucho gordo

        You don't get much of the flavor if you just suck them down.

        1. re: linguafood

          For me, the texture of raw clams/oysters is rubbery, gelatinous and not conducive to chewing yet I'm still able to enjoy their taste to the fullest. Stir or deep fried, the delectable morsels are chewed until all flavor is gone.

          1. re: mucho gordo

            Steamed clams are second only to steamed dungeness crabs to me on my list of favorite seafoods. However while I love raw oysters, I can't for the life of me stomach a raw clam. Like mucho gordo said the rubbery/gelatinous texture of clams when raw just kills it for me. And the liquor in a steamed clam to me is one of the great bursts of sweet and salty oceany goodness, but raw clams just doesn't have that.

    2. There are different kinds of clams. For steaming, the best kind is the type called "steamers". They have relatively thin shells and are very much oval shaped. Cherrystones are a different variety of clams and are prepared differently. Left to grow, they become quahogs, the type of clam used in chowder. (They get chopped up before the chowder is served! :)) Bottom line is, if you want steamed clams, you really should stick to steamers. If your local fish market has cherrystones, you should search out a recipe that calls for them.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PinchOfSalt

        Good advice. Cherrystones have thicker shells and are rounder, steamers are thinner shelled and more oblate.

      2. Little Necks are very good for your use (and steamers too).

        Take a look here --> http://marxfood.com/guide-types-of-cl...

        1. Manila clams are my personal favorite when steamed. Steamers have too much sand/grit in them.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bunson

            Are you doing the double dunk? It's traditional. First (after peeling the foot) you dunk a steamer in your bowl of liquid from the steaming put, then you dunk it in your bowl of melted butter. No sand that way!

          2. I grew up eating cherrystones. I think they are better raw and chilled. They are a pain in the ass to open though, so get a good clam opening implement. But even steamed, they shouldn't be so tough. So maybe you overcooked them as they toughen up when cooked too much? As soon as they open when they are steamed, they are ready.

            1. In my area, hard clams come in four different sizes. Littlenecks are the smallest. Generally no more than two inches across. Then come cherrystones, topnecks and then quahogs. Cherrystone size varies quite a bit and sometimes, I've seen clams advertised as cherrystones which are pushing quahog size. I prefer to eat littlenecks, whether raw, steamed or in a clam dish. Cherrystones are cooking clams for me. Topnecks and quahogs are chowder or stuffing clams. The bigger the clam, the chewier it will be. I agree with the other posts that you may have overcooked the clams. That can make them really chewy. Rather than just steaming the clams, you should try some simple dishes to amp up the flavor. For example, get some littlenecks or if you can only get cherrystones, try to get them no bigger than 3 inches across. Peel and crush a couple of garlic cloves. Get a covered frying pan and put it on medium heat. Pour in some olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Throw the garlic cloves in and and pinch of red pepper flakes. Stir and fry this for 30 seconds and pour in a cup of white wine/vermouth/beer. Let it come to a boil and put the clams in and cover. Check after 3-4 minutes to see if the clams have opened. If not cover and wait another couple of minutes. Once they're all opened, pour into a bowl and sit down with another beer and some good crusty bread and eat up. You can vary this by adding aromatics like chopped onion/green onions/herbs or vegetables like tomatoes.

              1. Growing up, we'd have cherrystones(small) raw on the half shell with cocktail sauce or topped with Introvigne's breadcrumbs, dotted with butter and baked for a bit. Delicious either way.

                1. Cherry stone clams are best raw. Just open the clams add a drop of lemon juice and eat the soft succulent clam. They are great, soft and not filling.
                  Make sure that you cut the mussels from the shell. They add to the eating enjoyment

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bladeguy6046

                    My husband and I courted over dozens of clams and oysters at Lundy's in Sheepshead Bay, Long Island, NY. The guys would open them in front of us, and they surely knew how (hint: if you put them in the freezer for a short while, they are easier to open). A couple of dozen each, an icy martini. Heaven. I like them with one squeeze of lemon, and I love to chew them. Cocktail sauce is usually served with them, too. And a tiny dollop of horse radish never hurt. Oh, I'm aching for a couple of dozen right now.