How To Clean and Package Razor Clams

Razor Clams

Razor clams are a little tedious but they are easy to clean and the meat makes it totally worth the effort. With most clams and oysters, we usually eat the entire organism except for the shell. With razor clams, they are big enough that you definitely want to get the vast majority of the guts out, but it doesn’t have to be perfect.

During our first clamming season, we kept our clam guts to use as crab bait and it worked VERY well compared to other baits. Clean your clams over a small-mesh strainer to keep all of the guts for crab bait. We freeze them in a yogurt container and put them in a mesh crab bait bag in our traps.

Some people use the more chewy necks of Razor Clams for surf perch bait, but we like fried chewy clam necks just as much as the rest of the clam.

Here’s how we clean razor clams:

1. Fill a large bowl with water and ice cubes and set to the side of the stove

2. Bring water to a boil in a pot or saucepan – we prefer a pot that isn’t too deep so that the clams are easy to see

3. Start out doing one clam at a time and move on to doing more than one once you figure it out- use tongs to place each clam in the boiling water until they “pop” open. Once they open, move them to the ice water bath. If they don’t open within 10 seconds, remove and place in the ice water anyway. Some clams will not pop open. Clams that were crushed will definitely not pop open – they’re still totally fine to eat.

Remove the clam once it pops open

4. Remove the shell. You may need to  gently scrape where the clam is attached to the shell to separate it.

Open razor clam

5. Use a pair of scissors and rinse under cold running water occasionally during steps 6 through 11

6. Cut up the “zipper” to the mouth. 

Cut along the zipper

7. Cut up the second siphon to the mouth.

Cut up the siphon

8. Cut off the mouth

Cut the mouth off

8. Turn your scissors so that the blades lay flat and cut out the gills one at a time.

Cut the gills off

9. Make two cuts on each side of the stomach straight down

Cut out the stomach
Cut out the stomach

10. Use the two cuts on each side of the stomach to get the scissors in and cut the stomach out.

Cut out the stomach

11. Use your fingers to squeeze the foot and stomach area to get most of the other digestive parts out including the very “boingy”, clear, cylindrical digestive organ. If you don’t see it, it fell out already.

Remove the "boingy" gland

12. You’ll get a sense for finding anything else that should be removed. Generally, all of the meat that you want to eat is tan in color and everything else should be removed. 

Cleaned Razor clams

We usually set aside the clams that we will eat that night in the fridge and immediately get to freezing the rest. For Razor Clams, we prefer to use our Foodsaver, but plastic wrap and freezer paper work great fine too. Here are instructions on how to freeze meat without a vacuum sealer:

How to Freeze Fish or Venison Without a Vacuum Sealer

With a Foodsaver, we recommend folding a piece of paper towel and putting it into the top of the bag above the clams, just under where you will seal the bag. This paper towel will absorb any juices that are sucked towards the mouth of the bag allowing for a proper seal.

Packaged Razor Clams

Fresh razor clams are great cooked just about any way. Our favorite recipe is Crunchy Coconut Fried Razor Clams:

Crunchy Coconut Fried Seafood Recipe

Fried Clams and Squid

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