How we tested
When there’s no time to shuck fresh littlenecks and cherrystones for a homemade seafood base, we reach for a jug of their juice. Clam juice is made by briefly steaming fresh clams in salted water and filtering the resulting broth before bottling. Of the three brands we tried adding to our Garlicky Shrimp Pasta, only one sample garnered criticism for tasting “too strong” and “too clammy”—perhaps because its sodium content was more than double that of the other brands. Both the top two brands—in fact the same product bearing two different labels—hail from the shores of clam country in Maine, are available nationwide, and bring a “bright” and “mineral-y” flavor to seafood dishes.