Can we eat sea cucumbers?

There’s a funny animal that lives on the floor of the ocean and likes to eat what most of us would only wipe off the bottom of our shoes. It’s name is the sea cucumber. The sea cucumber is an echinoderm and is closely related to sea stars, sea urchins, and sand dollars.To protect itself the sea cucumber will expel its intestines outside of its body to distract predators. The sea cucumber is a prized Japanese culinary tradition used often in soups and stews. Fisheries along the Atlantic coast have been popping up in the past twenty years to sell sea cucumbers.

Check out this video from National Geographic on how they (literally) fight with guts for glory:

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Comments

  1. Paul Mages says:

    As a lover of invertebrates Sea Cucumbers are one of my favorites. My familiarity is with the Pacific Northwest species which can get quite large. I have eaten the muscles which run through the inside of the body wall, these were fried and resembled calamari in texture and were very tasty with some sweet chili sauce. These were wild caught in the Broughton Archipelago of British Columbia and were not at risk of pollution nor are they low in numbers there.
    I have heard many times that they expel their guts, but that to me never made sense as then they would not be able to eat after that, so according to the Encyclopedia of Life(http://www.eol.org/pages/2012) it is said that it is part of their respiratory system.
    Some sea cucumbers possess organs not found in other invertebrates. In some Aspidochirotida, the respiratory trees display Cuvierian tubules. In most species, these are apparently defensive structures. They can be expelled through the anus, whereupon they dramatically expand in length and become sticky, entangling or deterring would-be predators, such as crabs and gastropods.

    Pretty awesome, especially the way they can make their bodies rigid like a garden cucumber or as limp as a wet sock, just by keeping water in their bodies.

  2. Thank you! Wonderful comments, Paul.

  3. Peter Hughes says:

    I need a recipe…I picked up some dried samples at the Boston Seafood Show and need to know the correct way to rehydrate and a couple of different ways to prepair them.

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