The Bottled Ingredient That Can Help Your Can Of Clams Go Even Further

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Some seafood aficionados will argue the best clams are fresh out of the ocean and ready to eat. However, you don't have to live in coastal areas to enjoy delicious clam chowder when the temperatures plummet in the wintertime. Chopped clams in a can, found at your local supermarket or online, offer plenty for your recipes compared to ones caught and served fresh, notes Pioneer Woman.

Why canned clams? First, there's less prep time without getting sand or clamshells all over your kitchen or porch. They're pre-cooked, obviating concerns over eating raw shellfish. Clams are also bursting with protein, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and iron, according to My Food Data. Canned clams are also low in fat and sodium. As a versatile protein, canned clams work well in soups, chowders, pasta, and even as a pizza topping. Even better? Clams have some of the lowest mercury levels of all seafood, according to the Mercury Policy Project. If you're concerned about sustainability, the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch says farmed clams have earned their highest level of recommendation for environmental friendliness.

Canned clams can be a wonderful addition to your meals when you want extra nutrition. However, less expensive brands of canned clams may have less flavor than their higher-end counterparts due to a lack of juice or broth, notes Kitchn. If you want to give your canned clams a boost, try one simple bottled ingredient you can buy anywhere. It will complement and enhance the flavor of your clams right away.

Use bottled clam juice to bring out the flavor of canned clams

Why bottled clam juice? It disperses more clam flavor throughout the recipe. Simple New England clam chowder recipes use whole cans of clams. How many cans depends on how much you want to make in one batch. Another problem, in addition to a lack of flavor in canned clams, is that the flavor of the clams can get lost among all of the other ingredients, according to New England Today. Be careful not to oversalt, thicken the clam chowder too much with starch, add clams at the beginning of the cooking process, or cook your potatoes for too long.

Bottled clam juice might help you find that just-right flavor in your homemade New England clam chowder, notes Kitchn. You've seen beef and chicken broth for soups. Bottled clam juice is the broth for seafood-based soups and stews, says Serious Eats. It contains clam juice, water, and salt. It's a byproduct of companies that make steamed clams. The boiling water leftover from steaming clams is bottled to use as clam juice. If you're watching your sodium intake, look for a low-sodium variety.

To get more clam flavor, reduce the milk or cream you use in your chowder recipe and replace it with clam juice. If you're making clam linguine, consider adding some clam juice to the liquid used to boil the pasta for more seafood flavor. Add or subtract bottled clam juice until you find the perfect amount.