What do razor clams taste like? Anatomy of a razor clam? How to get razor clams? Where do razor clams live? We will be answering all your razor clam questions!
What Is A Pacific Razor Clam?
The Pacific Razor Clam (Siliqua patula) is a large marine bivalve mollusk. Though it does have a close family member that is classified as a Razor Clam as well, this Pacific Razor clam is much bigger in size and provides much more “meat” than its brother from another coast, the Atlantic Razor Clam.
How Big Are Pacific Razor Clams?
Pacific razor clams can be anywhere from an inch to 8+ inches. The larger razor clams are typically most found in Alaska. In Washington and Oregon state, the typical size of a razor clam sits around 3 to 6 inches. In Alaska, it’s not uncommon to find razor clams over 7 inches. This is mainly due to colder weather conditions and less harvesting throughout the winter, allowing the razor clams to grow bigger in size.
What Do Razor Clams Taste Like?
Razor clams are mild in taste compared to other shellfish. I believe that’s largely due to the fact that you don’t eat their guts, which tends to hold the majority of the flavor. They have 2 main parts that have distinctly different in texture. Theirs necks are very tough, and their diggers are soft, making them more desirable. However, there are a few recipes that mask their texture, if you’re going for their flavor. Like this Clam Dip, where all the ingredients are tossed in a food processor. As well as, this Razor Clam Jalapeno Poppers recipe. It’s absolutely delish!
We’ve done razor clams of all sizes. The smallest one was about an inch from top to bottom of the shell, the medium razor clam’s shell was almost 4 inches, and the biggest one was sitting in a 6 inch shell!
What Are Parts Of A Razor Clam?
I recently heard someone say that the neck and zipper part of the razor clam looks like cowboy pants, and I will never be able to unsee that!
The anatomy of a razor clam is fairly straightforward. I created the diagram above to thoroughly explain each part of a razor clam. The neck of a razor clam is the toughest part and the digger is the softest, making the digger most desirable.
Besides the digger, my favorite part of a razor clam is the muscle, because it’s so soft and reminds me of a scallop. There are two muscles per clam and they are often thrown out due to improper cleaning. However, if you follow our “cleaning a razor clam” guide, and you clean your clams correctly, you will be able to save these delicious pieces. Thank us later!
Where Do You Find Razor Clams?
Pacific razor clams are along the Pacific coast, from Alaska down to California. In order to harvest razor clams, you will need a digging tool such as a clam gun or clam shovel, along with a low tide. Depending on what state you are in, you will need to purchase a shellfish license and watch for approved clam tides.
For more information, be sure to head to our Activities page, and go through our articles on everything you need to know before you go razor clamming on the Pacific coast. We have the best guides out there!
How Do You Find Razor Clams?
This depends on whether you’re looking to dig them yourself, or buy them. I’ll answer both.
Where Do Razor Clams Live?
Pacific Razor clams live in sandy beaches throughout the Pacific coast, from Alaska down to California. They are discreet and typically hiding a foot or more below the sand.
If you are looking to dig your own razor clams but not sure where to go, then check out our Razor Clamming Guide, that will provide details from how to read a tide, which license to get, what gear you will need, and how to clean razor clam after you’ve harvested them.
Where To Buy Razor Clams?
You can buy razor clams from most seafood markets close to the coast. One such market is Lytle’s Seafood, in Hoquiam, WA.
Another option is buying directly from tribes Quinault Indian Nation, that’s most popular on the Washington coast.
What Direction Do Razor Clams Dig?
Razor clams can only dig vertically, slanted slightly towards the ocean. They can dig about a foot a minute, maybe even faster in soft sand.
What is Razor Clamming?
Razor clamming is digging for razor clams. For Pacific razor clams, they are along the coast from Alaska down to California.
How To Go Clamming
We love fresh seafood, especially if we know we can go harvest it ourselves with minimal tools. First, distinguish what type of clams you are after. If you are razor clamming, then you will need to wait for an approved tide by your state.
The gear you need is as simple as a clam gun or clam shovel, a bucket or a net, and most importantly, check with your state to see if they require you to hold a “Shellfish License”. In Washington state a shellfish license is required to clam.
Here’s the complete guide on how to dig for for these mollusks:
- Razor Clam Tides
- Who needs a license?
- Razor Clam gear
- How to dig razor clams
- How to clean razor clams
When Is Razor Clam Season?
Approved razor clam tides are during the Fall, Winter and Spring seasons. Typically, October to May.
When Is The Best Time To Go Clamming?
The best time to go clamming is an hour or two prior to a low tide. We like to get to the beach an hour before low tide, since we feel it’s most efficient for us. That’s when clams seem to be most active, making them easier to dig.
Ok let’s get to the fun question…
“Happy as a clam” Meaning?
The entire saying for “happy as a clam”, is “Happy as a clam at high tide”. This means that when it’s a high tide (water levels are high) the clam is comfortable knowing there’s protection from people digging it up.
This is especially true during razor clam season on the Pacific coast! Where it is not uncommon to see hundreds of people lining the beach, digging for their fair share of Pacific razor clams.
So, here’s your permission to ditch the “happy camper” saying and roll with “happy as a clam”, especially if you live on the coast!
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Great article for this beginner. Looking forward to reading more. Thanks!
Thank you Shari! We upload a new one every week.