The word “clam” refers to various types of bivalve mollusks, which live in muddy, sandy sea beds.
Clam digging, or farming has been practiced for over 30 years now. Harvesting is usually done after a growth period of around two years. In Canada, the majority of the harvesting happens in British Columbia.
Clams are available for purchase all year long. They can be found in different sizes, the average being around 3.5 cm.
When buying clams, make sure that they are alive. You can do this by checking for two things: They should be heavy for their size and they should be firmly shut. If they are slightly open, tap the shell to see if it closes up again. In case it doesn’t, don’t buy them.
From a nutritional point of view, clams are rich in protein and low in fat. They are also an excellent source of numerous minerals – most notably iron. A single portion of clams contains four times more iron than a similar portion of calf liver.
Moreover, this form of iron can be easily absorbed by our bodies, making it an ideal food for anyone who is anemic or in need of more iron, such as women who are pregnant. To properly appreciate clams, this week I propose “Pasta alle vongole”, a classic Italian dish of Pasta with Clams.
Originally published in the Journal de Montréal on October 17, 2009.