Preparing Live Clams (or Mussels), and a Pasta Sauce for Them
From Kyle Phillips, former About.com Guide
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How to prepare clams or mussels
To remove sand and silt from live clams, soak them in lightly salted water for several hours.
If you have access to clean seawater, use it. Otherwise, fill a plastic bucket with tap water, adding one part non-iodized salt for every ten parts water (by weight; this works out to 1 pound salt for every 10 pints water, or 500 g per every 5 liters, and let the water sit for several hours to give the chlorine or other water-purification gasses it may contain time to bubble out (treated water straight from the tap can kill what's put into it). Scrub the clams well, or, if you're preparing mussels, scrape away their beards with a knife and scrub them; should you find any animals with broken shells discard them.