How to Cut And Polish Quahog Shells

By Simone Watts
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Quahogs are the official state shell of Rhode Island, and their name comes from the Narragansett Indian word "poquauhock." They are simply hard-shell clams. Shells protect the animal's body inside, and must be cut open to access the meat. Shell collectors cut the clams open, separate the halves and polish the shells to a nice shine.

Hold the clam in a towel, with the hinge side inward.

Press a sharp-edged clam knife against the area where the top and bottom shells meet. Press the knife into the crack and twist it to separate the halves.

Slide the knife under the top half of the shell to detach it from the clam. Remove the top shell and use the knife to scrape the bottom, cutting the meat from the shell. Remove any broken shell pieces.

Continue opening and removing the meat from all of your shells. Place the meat in a bowl if you plan to eat it later.

Wash the clam shells to remove any dirt. Mix 4 cups of warm water with 4 cups of bleach in a large plastic container. Add 1 tbs. of liquid dish soap to the warm water and wash the shells. Brush the surface with an old, soft toothbrush to remove any additional debris.

Rinse the shells with clean water and place them on a paper towel to dry overnight.

Buff the shell with sandpaper to polish it and smooth it. Blow off any excess dust.

Rub mineral oil on the shells for shine. Apply a quarter-size amount of oil to a clean towel and rub the oil into the shells.

About the Author

Simone Watts has written for television, radio and print titles including "SPIN" and "Village Voice" since 2004. Based in New York City, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Columbia College Chicago.