Hardshells are the connoisseur’s choice for raw, halfshell clams. They are mild-flavored, sweet and briny. Cooked hardshells are soft, juicy and mild. Raw meat should be tender-crisp and plump, ranging in color from ivory to golden yellow, with some dark areas. Cooked meat is pale, pinkish-white.Hardshells have an off-white, oval, symmetrical shell with a purple or violet border inside. Discard clams with open or broken shells. Unlike softshells, hardshell clams can close their shells completely and “live on their own juices” for a time, giving them a longer shelf life out of water than softshells.