Monday, September 27, 2010

Clam Opener

I've always prided myself on being able to open clams with just my pocket knife. Though I must admit some of them are a challenge to open...sometimes even the smaller clams are difficult to pry apart!

Over the weekend I took two bags of frozen clams out of my refrigerator to make clam chowder with. After opening only a few clams I drove the point of my knife into my left thumb. I swallowed my pride and went out to my tool shed and brought in my dad's homemade clam opener. It's a simple device that works like a charm -- just a block of wood (with a sizable goove to accomodate the clam) attached to a sturdy piece of aluminum with a series of slits and holes for the knife point. A steady hand and a little leverage is all that's needed to open clams safely.

My wound is healing well...and I've decided to work smarter & safer (not harder) from now on.

(Click on photo to view a larger image.)


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  1. Anonymous7:28 AM

    Phillip - if you'll let the frozen clams thaw for about 15-20 minutes then run them under water they'll open up easily. They'll still be slightly frozen and the clam meat will cut in half perfectly. This makes the medium to large size clams perfect for casino - one clam makes two casino :-)

  2. I was just impatient...didn't want to wait for the clams to thaw a bit...but I never thought of using the larger clams for two clams casino. Thanks for the suggestion.

    The clam opener is excellent for opening freshly caught or frozen clams...much easier...and safer.

  3. How old is that clam opener?
    See the older we get, as much as we do not want to admit it, our parents knew the best. Best in raising us kids, making things easier, in everything. I am glad you did not require stitches in your hand.

  4. Anonymous11:01 AM

    I love what OBXdreaming said, "our parents knew best!" You're right!

    I also love the fact that something that might be considered "Old fashioned" still works so well. Just goes to show how smart our forefathers were.

    I imagine you cherish that little homemade tool.

    You indeed have a talent for taking the simple things of life and making them interesting and exciting.


  5. The clam opener is probably 25 -30 years old...and it still does the job!

  6. Anonymous12:34 PM

    hurry file a patent or hello make some "fancy" looking ones to SELL in the hello Village Craftsmen okay news bulletin research is being conducted into how clams barnacles and the like affix themselves fastly to surfaces. research you ask, yes as a glue of sorts that bonds in a wet environment translates to bio engineering fusing bone tissue or something like that for faster mending FYI

  7. Anonymous6:19 PM

    Everything I always wanted to know, but not one good recipe

  8. Anonymous6:53 PM

    Great engineering...elegantly simple!

  9. Anonymous8:08 PM

    Philip, you are a good sport...telling that story on yourself.

    Hope your thumb is healing.

    Thanks for the smile.

  10. Anonymous8:13 PM

    I hope that rusty knife in the picture is not the one you jammed into your thumb!

  11. Anonymous9:29 PM

    I wonder if your Dad had a similar thing happen to him and invented the clam opener as a result!!! Sometimes the things that seem so easy are the ones that are more dangerous!...and why is it always in the kitchen?

  12. Anonymous7:07 AM

    here's my casino recipe:

    Open the clams and lay them out on a cookie sheet.

    Top them with 1/4 tsp pesto, 3/4 tsp each of diced onion & green pepper, top with shredded jack cheese and an inch long piece of bacon, broil till the bacon is cooked and they're done.

  13. Thanks for the casino recipe. I will publish mine in a day or so. Yours is a bit more elaborate. There are many variations.

    In response to other comments:
    My thumb is healing fine. And I was not using the rusty knife in the photo. I was using my pocket knife.

  14. Anonymous10:40 AM

    Philip-Hope you have a recipe for casino & chowder. My mouth is watering-been years since I've tasted a good clam chowder. Take care.

  15. Look for the clam chowder recipe on Thursday.