How to eat steamers?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “how to eat steamers?”. We will also talk more about the health benefits of eating steamers, proper ways to clean steamers before cooking, and how they are different from mussels.

How to eat steamers?

Steamers or clams are amazing to eat but if you don’t know how to eat them or don’t know what they are, they can be intimidating to eat. Here we will guide you step by step on how to eat steamers.

Open the shell

The steamers or steamed soft-shell clams have brittle shells, so one should be gentle not to break it. Hold the shell in one hand and pull the clam out of the shell with your other hand or use a fork. 

The two sides of the shells do not touch to be closed, a long foot or syphon is seen protruding from the shell which is what you hold to pull the clam out. Discard the shells in the shell bowl.

Remove the skin of the syphon

The syphon is covered by a thin dark-colored filmy membrane which needs to be removed using our finger and set them aside as the membranes are not supposed to be eaten.

Dip and eat

Once you have the clam ready and out of the shell, dip the clam into melted butter or broth or both and place it in your mouth and chew and swallow.

The clams are fishy and salty in taste, so dipping them in the broth and butter helps give the clam a robust flavour.

What are steamers?

In the United States, steamed clams are made with small soft-shell clams (Mya Arenaria) and are called steamers. The steamers are tender, sweet, and extremely rich and are traditionally steamed and served with clam broth and melted butter alongside steamed spuds, corn, and vegetables to go along with them.

What is the difference between mussels and steamers?

The mussels and clams belong to the similar molluscs family but there are many differences between them. Mussels are both saltwater and freshwater species whereas clams are mainly freshwater.

The shells are also different with clams being soft and brittle whereas mussels have a sturdy shell. What makes clams different is that they have bodily organs such as the heart, parts of the digestive system, and a circulatory system.

Mussels need to be cooked but clams can be eaten raw or cooked.

How to clean steamers before cooking?

Clams live most of their lives buried under the sand or mud in oceans or rivers. The shells need to be cleaned of any sand or grit before proceeding to cook. Here we learn the way of cleaning the steamers before cooking them.

To clean the steamers, first, rinse the mud and sand grit off the shells by rinsing the steamers under cold water. Once rinsed, place the steamers in a large bowl with salt and cold water enough to submerge them.

Let sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Doing this will make the steamers purge the sand out of their stomachs. Scoop out the clams from the bowl keeping in mind not to drain the clams as the sand will be settled on the base of the bowl.

Now scrub the shells of the steamers to get any unwanted sand or mud residue. Rinse the steamers under cold water and now they are ready to be cooked.

What are the health benefits of eating steamers?

Steamers are rich in nutrition and minerals that are beneficial for human health. They are packed with Vitamin B12, iron, Vitamin C, and potassium. They are also a good source of magnesium which is important in metabolism, muscle function, and nerve function.

Zinc and selenium abundant in steamers are vital for men in the production of sperm and seminal fluid. The iron helps regulate blood pressure, and the proteins in steamers are great for thyroid health and heart health.

Vitamin B12 is abundant in steamers which helps in the production of red blood cells, synthesises proteins, and makes and maintains the DNA. It is also beneficial to improve memory loss, slowing ageing boosting energy, and also to prevent macular degeneration of the eyes.

Steamers or clams also contain an adequate amount of copper and iodine which ensures the body produces enough thyroid hormone. Just like any other seafood, clams also contain Omega-3 fatty acids which are responsible for the flexibility of the blood vessels, lower elevated levels of triglycerides, and may even help lower depression.


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “how to eat steamers?”. We also talked about the health benefits of eating steamers, proper ways to clean steamers before cooking, and how they are different from mussels.

I hope you find this blog helpful. If you have any questions, please let us know.


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