Discovering Maine’s Clams: A Guide to the Different Types of Clams Found in the State

Maine, known for its picturesque coastline and thriving seafood industry, is home to a diverse range of clams. Here are some common types of clams found in Maine:

1. Soft-Shell Clams (Steamers)

Soft-shell clams, commonly referred to as steamers, are one of the most popular clams in Maine. They have thin, brittle shells and tender, flavorful meat. Steamers are often steamed or boiled and served with melted butter. They are a staple in New England clam boils and are enjoyed for their sweet and briny taste.

2. Quahog Clams (Hard-Shell Clams)

Quahog clams, also known as hard-shell clams, are found along the Maine coast. They have hard, sturdy shells and firm, chewy meat. Quahogs are used in various dishes such as clam chowder, clam fritters, and stuffed clams. They are available in different sizes, including littlenecks, cherrystones, and chowder clams, depending on their age and size.

3. Mahogany Clams

Mahogany clams, also known as dark mahoganies, are smaller clams with deep red-brown shells. They have a distinct, rich flavor and are often used in clam bakes, seafood stews, and pasta dishes. Mahogany clams add a unique and robust taste to seafood recipes.

4. Razor Clams

Razor clams are long, slender clams with narrow shells and elongated necks. They are prized for their sweet, delicate meat and are typically harvested by digging in sandy beaches. Razor clams are enjoyed in various preparations, including sautéing, frying, or as a featured ingredient in clam-based recipes.

5. Surf Clams (Sea Clams)

Surf clams, also known as sea clams, are large, hearty clams found in Maine’s coastal waters. They have thick, hard shells and firm, flavorful meat. Surf clams are commonly used in seafood products such as clam strips, clam chowder, and canned clam meats.

These are just a few examples of the types of clams found in Maine. The state’s cold, nutrient-rich waters provide an ideal habitat for these delectable shellfish. Clams play a significant role in Maine’s culinary traditions, offering a taste of the region’s bountiful seafood harvest.