Got into a heated discussion with my chef about purging clams and thought I would post my thoughts and look for yours.
Here the chef purges the clams overnight in water and cornmeal, the clams rapidly die and we have to use them quickly.
Me, as a hobby have had saltwater reef aquariums for years and know a little about keeping marine life alive in captivity.
I suggested to him that the FRESH water would kill the clams immediately, otherwise we would have cod in the delaware river and marlin in mountain lakes. I have seen people online adding salt to the purge water but in ratios too low to match the natural salinity of saltwater which is @ 1.021 and 1.025 on a refractometer/hygrometer. The generally accepted ratio for salt mixes for aquariums is @ 1/2 cup per gallon of water to get in that general range though if you really want to get technical that ratio would need to be tweaked to match the natural specific gravity of where the shellfish came from. Also kitchen salt and kosher salt has been made from evaporated sea water and many of the compounds found in evaporated salt do not readily dissolve back into water (mainly the carbonates, though I dont think them neceassary to maintain life only sustained growth). That is a reason you cannot use rock salt or natural salt in water being used in a saltwater aquarium.
Do you think having a correct saltwater solution would keep the clams alive longer? and at the same time be more effective in purging clams? I am not suggesting everyone have a saltwater aquarium in their walk in, but at least I think it would help the clams survive longer in a kitchen.
Also, why cornmeal?? Yes while clams and bivalves are filter feeders they generally feel on much smaller particulate matter such as phytoplankton which usually are in the micron range. Has anyone ever eaten a clam with cornmeal in its gut?? I do think it is entirely possible but was just wondering. Also the cornmeal would have to be freely circulating in the water to be effective, so some sort of circulation pump comes to mind. A clam in the top of the bucket wont get any cornmeal that is settled in the bottom.
Also again, if the clams do actually eat the cornmeal, it gives me the idea of flavoring the cornmeal. KInd of like stuffing a turkey.
on a side note I have a clam from a raw bar buffet in my tank now which is about 4 inches across, came in as a littleneck. I find it time to time when I am doing maintenance. It came in as a littleneck two years ago.
So,,, what do you think besides that I have too much time on my hands??