What is a clam?
A: Clam is a common name for several kinds of bivalve mollusks.
The word is often applied only to those that are edible
and live as infauna, spending most of their lives where?
A: Halfway buried in the sand of the seafloor or riverbeds.
Clams have two shells of equal size connected by two
adductor muscles and have a powerful what?
A: A powerful burrowing foot.
Where do they live?
A: In both freshwater and marine environments.
In salt water they prefer to burrow down into what?
A: The mud.
The turbidity of the water required varies with species
and location; the greatest diversity of these is where?
A: In North America.
Clams in the culinary sense do not live where?
A: Attached to a substrate (whereas oysters and mussels do) and do not live near the bottom (whereas scallops do).
Many edible clams such as palourde clams are what
A: Ovoid or triangular.
Razor clams have an elongated parallel-sided shell,
A: An old-fashioned straight razor.
Some clams have life cycles of only one year, while at
least one may be how old?
A: Over 500 years old.
All clams have what?
A: Two calcareous shells or valves joined near a hinge with a flexible ligament, and all are filter feeders.
A clam's shell consists of two (usually equal) valves,
which are connected by what?
A: A hinge joint and a ligament that can be internal or external.
The ligament provides tension to bring the valves
apart, while one or two adductor muscles can do what?
A: Contract to close the valves.
Clams also have kidneys, a heart, a mouth, a stomach,
and a what?
A: A nervous system.
Most species of
octopus have clams as a staple of their
diet, up to and including what?
A: The giants like the Giant Pacific octopus.
In culinary use, within the eastern coast of the United
States and large swathes of the Maritimes of
Canada, the term "clam" most
often refers to what?
A: The hard clam, Mercenaria mercenaria.
It may also refer to a few other common edible species,
such as what?
A: The soft-shell clam, Mya arenaria, and the ocean quahog, Arctica islandica.
Up and down the coast of the Eastern U.S., the bamboo
clam, Ensis directus, is prized by Americans for what?
A: For making clam strips, although because of its nature of burrowing into the sand very close to the beach, it cannot be harvested by mechanical means without damaging the beaches.
The bamboo clam is also notorious for having a what?
A: A very sharp edge of its shell, and when harvested by hand must be handled with great care.
Clams can be eaten how?
A: Raw, steamed, boiled, baked or fried.
They can also be made into clam chowder, clams casino,
clam cakes, or stuffies, or they can be cooked using hot rocks and seaweed
in a what?
A: A New England clam bake.
On the West Coast, they are an ingredient in making
A: Cioppino and local variants of ceviche.
Clams are eaten more in the coastal regions of India, especially in the Konkan, Kerala, Bengal and coastal regions of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu regions.
In Kerala clams are used to make what?
A: Curries and fried with coconut.
In Japan, what are clams often an ingredient of?
A: Mixed seafood dishes.
They can also be made into what?
A: Hot pot, miso soup or tsukudani.
What are the more commonly used varieties of clams in
A: They are the vongola, the cozza and the tellina.
Though dattero di mare was once eaten, overfishing
drove it to what?
A: The verge of extinction (it takes 15 to 35 years to reach adult size and could only be harvested by smashing the calcarean rocks that form its habitat).
The Italian government has declared it an endangered
species since when?
A: 1998 and its harvest and sale are forbidden.
In Judaism, clams are considered non-kosher but in
Islam clams are considered what?
In Jainism, eating clams is against the principles of
‘ahinsa’ or non-violence, as it is a result of doing what?
A: Killing a living creature.
Some species of clams, particularly Mercenaria
mercenaria, were in the past used by the Algonquians of Eastern North
America to manufacture what?
A: Wampum, a type of sacred jewelry; and to make shell money.