Clams are an extremely versatile food that compliments a variety of dishes. They pair well in anything from pastas, to soups and stews, to summer salads, and are simply delicious on their own. However, not all clams should be treated equal.
Different types of clams have different textures, tastes and sizes that determine how they should be prepared. Here are a few popular types that you may or may not be familiar with:
1. Littlenecks: These types of clams have a hard-shell and are commonly eaten on the half-shell or used in chowders. Typically, smaller littlenecks are served raw because they are more tender and sweet.
2. Cherry Stone: Littlenecks and Cherry Stones are very similar in texture but the only real difference is size. Cherry Stones tend to be a bit larger and are typically used when making baked clams or clams casino.
3. Steamers: A type of soft-shell clam, steamers are lighter in color than ones of the hard-shell variety. They are self explanatory in terms of preparation; often served in the broth produced from steaming alongside butter or a light sauce for dipping.
4. Razor Clams: Unlike littlenecks and steamers which have similar shapes, razor clams shells are long, smooth and thin. Although they can be prepared many ways, sautéing or steaming them with fresh flavors like garlic and lemon make for a great summer dish.
When looking to buy clams, make sure that the shells have no damage and are slightly open. You want to buy clams while they’re alive, so if you lightly tap on the shell it should close shut!
Aside from being tasty, clams are also little nutritional powerhouses that pack in a multitude of vitamins and minerals including selenium, iron, zinc and vitamin B12.
A great cancer-fighter, selenium works alongside antioxidants to reduce the damage of cellular DNA which reduces cancer growth. Additionally, the mineral is used for preventing various cancers including prostate, stomach, lung and skin.
Iron helps your body create red blood cells that carry and store oxygen throughout your body in order to stay healthy. Clearly, the consumption of iron is extremely beneficial for our bodies but is especially so for cancer patients. In certain cases, patients receiving radiation therapy or chemotherapy may develop iron deficiency anemia from the treatment. One could help self-manage iron deficiency anemia by choosing a diet rich in iron and foods such as clams.