We went clamming on Saturday’s minus low tide. The minus low tides are always in the evening in the winter. We generally only dig clams in the winter as most cases of Paralytic Shellfish Poisioning occur during the warmer months. We also only dig steamer clams, which I’ve never have heard of a PSP incident. There are many species of clams on the beach where we go – steamer clams, butter clams, mussels, horse clams, pink neck clams and cockles. Butter clams seem to hold PSP when it is present, and mussels have the highest PSP when it’s around. I don’t much care for cockles, and horse clams and pink necks are deeper and more work.
We arrived at the cabin about 3 pm, before it got dark. We hoofed it into our cabin to wait for the low tide at about 6:30 pm. We put on our headlamps and headed to the beach after starting a fire in the woodstove.
“Our” beach used to be full of steamer clams. We are the only ones who dig there that we know of. To my disappointment, we didn’t get many. About 7 gallons worth (2, five-gallon buckets about 2/3s full), between 3 of us digging. And, we dug all over the area. Not sure what the lack of clams could be – maybe we’ve harvested the beach and it has not caught up (hard to believe, but a possiblity); maybe the clams died off from the big fall storms we had this year, or maybe something else. Not any pollution, etc. in the area. Hey – it’s probably global warming!!
Anyway, we brought back the buckets of clams, and divided them among the families. I took ours and topped off the bucket with fresh sea water. A few days later, I poured off the water and replaced with more sea water. It’s supposed to allow the clams to expell any grit before we eat them.
We started in on them on Saturday evening. One good thing about clams – they’re easy to get and easy to cook. We just steam them open and eat. I think if you have to put them in butter or something else, they aren’t good enough for me. Even with the water change, though, I managed to eat a few clams that had some stones in them, but other than that, they were fantastic as usual. You can sprinkle corn meal in the water so the clams will take in the corn meal and expell any grit, so we’ll try that next time.
It’s been along winter so far, and it’s still January. The days are getting longer, though, and we hope to get out and fish some rings for king crab in the next few days.