Fresh clams are a delicious addition to a seafood dinner or a raw-bar spread. Care must be taken when purchasing, cleaning and preparing fresh soft-shell clams, however, to prevent contamination and food poisoning. Keep the fresh clams cold and alive by storing them in the refrigerator for a few hours until it is time to clean and steam them. You'll need to set aside several hours to adequately clean soft-shell clams.
Rinse the shells under cold running water. Repeat this process several times to remove loosened grit.
Add salt to a bucket of water, enough so it tastes quite salty. Add a handful or two of cornmeal to the salted water.
Put the clams in the bucket. Place the clams in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Remove the clams from the refrigerator. Rinse the shells one final time before steaming.