How to clean periwinkles (isam) in their shells before cooking with them

In Nigeria, periwinkle is called “isam” in Igbo and  “Isawuru ” in Yoruba and “mfi ” in Efik and Ibibio .

They are small marine snails , usually found in muddy soil. They are usually added to Nigerian soups like edikangikong, afang, okazi, oha and Nsala . It is rich in protein and healthy fatty aids like omega 3 fatty acids.

People like to enjoy periwinkles in different ways – some like it with the shell in their soups so they can suck it out while others like to the shell removed before adding it to their soups.

Here’s a simple way to clean shelled periwinkles before cooking with them

  • Cut off the top and bottom of the shell
  • Pour in a bowl and wash the shelled periwinkles severally to remove the dirt off the shell ( you can do this till the water you are washing it in is clear).
  • Transfer periwinkle into a bowl that has a cover , put some salt and water in the bowl, cover the bowl and shake vigorously to get out any hidden dirt, scoop the periwinkles out of the water .
  • Transfer into a pot , add salt and cover with water then leaves to boil for about 2- 3 minutes , you will notice some whitish substance floating on the surface of the water.
  • Rinse the periwinkles; at this point, it should be clean enough to go into any soup of your choice.

There’s also the option of getting dry periwinkles if you live outside Nigeria and will like to enjoy it in your soups. Kindly go instore themarketfoodshop for more details on that ,you can also click this link –

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