There are many different types of edible clams in the United States, and steamed clams are a common menu item in both restaurants and homes. When choosing clams for your meal, pick clams with unbroken shells. Strike the clam; if it sounds dull, the clam is dead or a shell has a hairline crack. Using anything less than the best clams will result in a smelly meal that may make you sick if eaten. Before cooking, you will need to soak the live clams in brine to get rid of any grit or dirt.
Things You'll Need
Use a stiff vegetable brush to scrub the outer shell of the clams under cold running water. Discard any clams with broken shells.
Create a brine soak for the clams. Place the clams in a large plastic bucket and fill with 1 gallon of cold water. Add salt and cornmeal.
Allow the clams to soak for three hours, then repeat with a fresh brine solution. Soak the clams in the second solution for approximately 15 minutes. Remove the clams from the solution and allow to drain before cooking.