We couldn’t be more excited about National Deep Fried Clams Day on November 1. Clam is the term used for several types of bivalve mollusks and usually refers to those that live as infauna and are edible. They spend the majority of their lives half-buried in the seafloor or riverbeds. With some flour, milk, eggs, and, of course, shucked clams, you can fry up a whole batch of fun today. Often referred to as the ‘barbecue’ of New England, it’s no wonder this tasty meal has a special day.
History of National Deep Fried Clams Day
There are thousands of clam species, and the majority fall into the soft-shelled or hard-shelled categories. Deep-fried clams are typically soft-shelled clams, and are sometimes called “steamers” or “clam bellies”. The steamers are dipped in flour and milk before frying.
Clams made their first appearance on restaurant menus in the 1840s. Served with liver, veal cutlets, and mutton, they are popular on the East Coast of the United States. Seaside clam shacks (roadside restaurants) serve up this tasty delicacy, often with tartar sauce. They are also served in hot dog buns called clam rolls. Made from Atlantic surf clams, “clam strips” are a favorite outside the New England region.
Fried clams were introduced during the mid-1900s. Lawrence Henry “Chubby” Woodman has been credited with the invention of the version we know today. On July 3, 1916, he served up the delicious meal at his roadside stand. Plying his trade in Essex, Massachusetts, he was renowned for making chips by deep-frying potatoes before making the switch to deep-frying clams from the Essex River.
His determination to improve the business was the driving force behind creating deep-fried clams. Clams weren’t popular and he needed to add a fun, tasty twist to get customers coming back for more. Going on the suggestion of his fisherman friend, Woodman and his wife experimented and settled on the perfect recipe for deep-fried clams dipped in milk and cornflour. Deep-fried clams have taken off since then, quickly winning the hearts of many across the country. We take time today to celebrate this delicious creation with food lovers everywhere.
National Deep Fried Clams Day timeline
Restaurant menus introduce clams for the first time.
On July 3, Lawrence Henry "Chubby" Woodman serves the first deep-fried clams in Essex, Massachusetts.
The creator of deep-fried clams, Chubby Woodman, dies.
National Deep Fried Clams Day is declared to take place on July 3 annually.
National Deep Fried Clams Day FAQs
Is it safe to eat raw clams?
Clams can be enjoyed either cooked or raw. The average-sized cherrystones and the littlenecks are best eaten raw. Mahogany and quahogs can be chewy; making them perfect for cooked preparations such as clam chowders.
When are clams bad for you?
The rule of thumb states that shellfish should only be eaten in the months ending with ‘r’. So, you’re fine eating as many clams as you can manage from September to April.
What should you pair fried clams with?
Fried clams virtually demand to be eaten with potato salad, lemon wedges, and other fried foods. A lobster roll will be just fine too, and you could add white wine, champagne, or a cold brew for good measure.
How to Celebrate National Deep Fried Clams Day
Get some clams
There’s nothing better than the delicious taste of fried clams to celebrate this holiday. Make a fresh batch yourself or visit a seafood restaurant and stuff your tum!
Try new recipes
Tired of the same taste each time? Why not experiment with a new recipe; try a new dip for a special taste.
Go try the original recipe
If you happen to be close to Essex, why not pop down to Woodman’s Essex. Experience the unique taste of deep-fried clams made with the original recipe.
5 Facts About Clams That Will Blow Your Mind
Dead clam walking
Clams have no nose, eyes, or head, only feet for burrowing into the sand to hide from prey.
A long wait
Clam larvae take somewhere between 25–28 months to grow to market size.
In 2007, scientists discovered an ocean quahog specimen dating back 410 years.
Plenty to go around
There are about 150 edible clam species.
Giant clams can measure up to four feet.
Why We Love National Deep Fried Clams Day
Endangered food species
Clams are among the last remaining wild foods. The agricultural revolution was the herald of a decline in wild food. Most modern food sources are domesticated.
High protein content
Clams are highly nutritious. Three ounces of steamers supplies 44% of the daily requirement of a 2,000-calorie diet.
Clams are a major source of zinc. Zinc happens to be a vital nutrient of testosterone and sperm production in males.
National Deep Fried Clams Day dates