I bought some razor clams today and all of them were open with their "tongue" or meat coming out of the shell. When I got home I noticed they had a really strong smell to them. This is the first time I've bought razor clams....so how do I know if they are safe to eat?

1 Answer 1


There are two types of razor clams. Since you are in the US according to your profile, I am guessing you have the type from the Pacific Northwest, which look like this (picture from Washington Fish and Wildlife):

enter image description here

It is normal for the razor clam to not completely fit into its shell; in particular, the digger or "foot" will extend from the shell.

According to Piscatorial Pursuits (I couldn't make that name up):

The neck tips are very tough and give off a very strong scent.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has a detailed page on cleaning and preparing the clams, with pictures. Note that they indicate (emphasis original):

During cleaning, you may find small "pea crabs" or flatworms inside the body of the clam. NEITHER OF THESE AFFECTS THE QUALITY OF THE RAZOR CLAM MEAT.

  • 1
    Interesting. I'm from the east coast of the US, and to me, this is a razor clam.
    – JoeFish
    Commented Jun 10, 2013 at 21:04
  • 1
    @JoeFish That is the kind that my research indicated was common in England.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Commented Jun 10, 2013 at 21:11

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