If you are a seafood lover, then clams would undoubtedly be one of your favorites. Cooked in several ways, like baked, grilled, and boiled, this bivalve mollusk is a treat to the taste buds. Clams are available in many sizes, and they are measured in bushels as per their volume.
How many clams in a bushel are there? It depends on the size of the clam, its geographic location, and the state’s regulation where you are purchasing them. As a result, a bushel of clams can range from 112 to 400 pieces.
This is a question many people wonder about, and in this blog post, we have put together an ultimate guide to help you understand it better.
What Is a Bushel?
The term bushel is derived from the old French word boissel, which means a small box or container. This unit of measure was used to quantify dry goods like grain, seeds, and vegetables.
In the US, a bushel is legally defined as a measure of dry volume equal to 8 gallons or 32 quarts. The British imperial bushel, on the other hand, is equal to 8 imperial gallons or 36.4 liters.
The importance of a bushel can be seen in its various uses in different industries. For example, in agriculture, a bushel is used to measure the yield of crops such as wheat, corn, and soybeans.
Farmers rely on accurate measurements of bushels to determine the amount of grain harvested, sold, or stored. In the apple industry, a bushel is used to measure the amount of fruit produced and sold. A bushel of apples is equivalent to 42 pounds or 20 kilograms.
Another interesting fact about a bushel is its variations across different types of crops. For example, a bushel of wheat contains about 60 pounds or 27 kilograms, while a bushel of corn contains about 56 pounds or 25 kilograms.
The variations in weight can be attributed to differences in the density and moisture content of the crops. Different countries and regions may also have their own standards for measuring a bushel, which can lead to confusion and discrepancies in trade.
A bushel of clams is the standard weight measurement used at seafood markets, and it can vary according to the size of the clam. However, there are a few common sizes of clams that are used to measure a bushel.
How Many Clams in a Bushel?
If you’re dealing with small clams or littlenecks, about 7 to 10 pieces can make up a pound. On the other hand, medium-sized cherrystone clams, which range from 2 to 3 inches in length, have about 16 to 25 pieces in a pound.
Therefore, a bushel of littlenecks can have approximately 300 to 400 pieces of clams, while a bushel of cherrystone clams can have 112 to 140.
The size of clams also depends on their geographic location. Clams harvested in the northeastern US tend to be larger than those from other regions. Additionally, some states have their own regulations on bushel sizing.
For example, in Massachusetts, a bushel of clams is defined by law as 32 quarts, whereas in Florida and Georgia, it’s 26 quarts. The number of clams you would find in each bushel also changes depending on the location.
If you’re purchasing bushels of clams, it’s crucial to ensure that the vessel you are buying comes from a reputable source. While it’s standard practice for seafood markets to clean and sort the clams, make sure the clams are free from cracks, severe damage, or inactivity.
An experienced seafood vendor would not provide you with anything other than the highest-quality seafood.
It’s worth noting that you do not need to purchase an entire bushel of clams if you don’t require that many. Many seafood markets allow you to purchase clams by the pound, and others even allow you to buy them individually.
Additionally, you don’t need to worry about the quality being compromised since seafood markets always offer fresh clams.
How Many Clams in a Pound?
A pound of clams can contain anywhere from 10 to 30 clams, depending on their size. Small or medium-sized clams (less than 1.5 inches in diameter) normally come in a pack of 16-20 per pound.
Meanwhile, larger clams (more than 1.5 inches in diameter) come in a pack of 8-10 per pound. Additionally, the type of clam will also affect the number of clams in a pound. For instance, the hardshell clam’s weight may vary from that of a softshell clam.
Choosing the right number of clams for a recipe by weight can be challenging if you’re not used to it. Here are some tips to make your selection process more manageable:
- Estimate the number of clams you need based on their size and weight. If you’re cooking a recipe that requires small or medium-sized clams, you’ll need around 16-20 clams per pound. However, if you’re cooking a recipe that requires larger clams, you’ll need approximately 8-10 clams per pound.
- Be aware of the weight of the shell. Clams have a hard shell that can weigh up to 50% of the total weight, which can impact the amount of meat in each clam. To obtain an accurate weight, make sure to weigh the clams after cleaning and shucking them.
How Much Is a Bushel of Clams?
The price of clams per bushel can vary depending on the location, season, and demand. On average, a bushel of clams will cost you between $30 and $120.
The specific price you’ll pay will largely depend on the location you’re in and the demand for clams at that time. If you live in a coastal town and the supply of clams is plentiful, you’ll likely pay a lower price per bushel than in an inland city, where clams are harder to come by.
Another factor that affects the cost of clams by the bushel is the season. Clams are harvested year-round, but the price per bushel can fluctuate depending on the season.
In general, you’ll pay more for clams in the summer when demand is high due to beach tourism and outdoor dining. In the winter, however, when clamming is harder to do, and demand is lower, the price per bushel will drop.
The size of the clams in the bushel can also affect the cost. The larger the clams, the more expensive the bushel will be.
If you’re looking for smaller clams, which are great for soups and stews, you’ll pay less per bushel than if you’re after larger clams, which are great for grilling and frying.
One crucial consideration to keep in mind when buying a bushel of clams is where you’re buying them from.
Some retailers or suppliers may have better deals than others, and comparing prices across different options is essential in ensuring you land the best deal possible. Try to settle for a reputable supplier with the best price.
Tips for Buying Fresh Clams
Clams are versatile and tasty seafood that can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups to pasta. However, if you are not familiar with how to pick the best clams, then it can turn your dish into a disaster. So, here are some tips that can help you buy the perfect clams every time.
1. Look for Closed Clams
When you are buying clams, the first thing you need to check is if they are closed tightly. Fresh clams close their shells tightly to preserve moisture and protect themselves from predators.
If the shell is even slightly open, then it’s an indication that the clam is dead or dying, and you should avoid buying it.
2. Try and Buy Fresh
The best way to buy clams is from a fish market or seafood specialty store. These places receive fresh shipments daily and have a good turnover rate. Always ask the staff about the freshness of the clams and if they have been stored properly.
You can also look for clams that have been harvested locally, as they are usually fresher than those that have been shipped from far-off places.
3. Check the Smell
Fresh clams should have a mild, salty aroma. If the clams have a strong, fishy smell, it indicates decay, and you should not buy them. You should also avoid clams that smell sweet or sour.
4. Choose the Right Size
Clams are available in different sizes, and the size of the clam can affect the tenderness and flavor. Smaller clams tend to be sweeter and more tender, while larger clams are tougher and have a strong flavor.
Clams that are between 1.5 to 2.5 inches in size tend to be the most popular for recipes.
5. Store Clams Properly
Once you bring your clam haul home, it is essential to store them properly to maintain their freshness. Place them in a bowl covered with a damp towel or paper towel and keep them in the fridge.
Do not keep them submerged in water, as this will suffocate them, leading to death. You should also consume them within a day or two, as shellfish tend to spoil quickly.
How Long Do Clams Stay Alive in the Fridge?
Clams can stay alive in the fridge for a short period, typically up to 2 to 3 days. However, it is essential to store them properly to maintain their freshness and viability.
Do You Need to Soak Clams Before Cooking?
It is generally a good idea to soak clams before cooking to help remove any sand or grit that may be trapped inside the shells. Soaking the clams in salt water helps them expel sand and other debris, ensuring that you have a cleaner and grit-free final dish.