Sea cucumbers are not related to the cucumbers that you can plant in your garden, or incorporate into salads. When talking about sea cucumbers, we are talking about a live breathing organism. Sea cucumber is a marine creature that is oblong-shaped and gelatinous.
It is closely related to starfish and sea urchins. Sea cucumbers are very popular in Asian countries and are largely used in their cuisines. It is considered a delicacy and is indeed shaped like a cucumber. Just imagine a slimy breathing cucumber-like creature that lives on the floor of the pacific ocean.
What does sea cucumber taste like? Sea cucumber has a bland neutral taste. When included in recipes or dishes, its neutral taste makes it into a platform that can absorb the flavor of other food items you are pairing it with. Sea cucumber would taste like what ingredients you cook it with. The special thing and appeal about sea cucumber is its solid but gelatinous texture.
Sea cucumbers have found a place in Chinese cuisines and other Asian cuisines. It doesn’t require a long cooking time, it can break apart if subjected to heat for a long period.
Nutritional Benefits of Sea Cucumber
Sea cucumber has had a long-standing history in Chinese traditional medical applications. It is used to treat a very wide scope of ailments. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that sea cucumber can heal ailments like cancer, arthritis, and impotence.
Sea cucumbers can contribute to the overall well-being of the human body but there is no scientific proof to the authenticity of these claims. According to science and what we know for sure about sea cucumbers, let’s see just how much nutritional value they have to offer.
Sea cucumbers are very nutritious. They are low in fat while being an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and other micronutrients. This property of sea cucumbers makes them perfect for a weight loss diet. You can cut down on the intake of carbs and fat while still keeping your daily intake of nutrients up.
Sea cucumbers contain antioxidants that are very powerful and play important roles in the human body. Antioxidants can relieve oxidative stress and the damage of cells by rogue molecules in the body known as free radicals.
Food items like sea cucumber that are rich in protein are great for people that are trying to control their blood sugar level. The digestion of protein could take a while, so it keeps our stomachs full and reduces the amount of food we eat daily. A diet rich in protein will benefit heart health, muscle development, and reparation, improvement of bone structure, and would help maintain lower blood pressure.
Sea cucumbers are choked full of phenol and flavonoid antioxidants. They can reduce inflammation and prevent the occurrence of various chronic diseases in the body.
Studies that have been carried out also show that sea cucumber might be able to improve heart and liver health and hinder the growth of bacteria in the body (antimicrobial properties). However, certain species of sea cucumber have anticoagulant properties, they can thin the blood and prevent it from clotting in the case of an injury so you need to watch out for which variety has such properties.
Culinary Uses of Sea Cucumber
Sea cucumber can be eaten as it is raw, or fried, and pickled. But in most cases, it is usually dried then added to dishes so it can rehydrate and return to its original texture and state.
When you want to cook sea cucumber, you can compare it to tofu, it soaks the flavor of the spices, herbs, or seasonings that you are cooking it with. This makes sea cucumbers very versatile. You can integrate it into soups and stews, or strict fry dishes. It can also be paired with meat vegetables and other likely food items.
When sea cucumber is dried, the rehydration time can take a while. If you want to include dried sea cucumber in your recipe, you must have planned and soaked the dried sea cucumbers for at least 5 days. It doesn’t matter if the sea cucumber is frozen, fresh, or dried. Once you can have it ready for cooking, you can cook it or use it as you like.
When using sea cucumber in culinary adaptations, you need to keep checking for doneness frequently so it doesn’t fall apart.
What is the History of Sea Cucumber? How to Procure It?
Sea cucumber is also known as sea ginseng by the Chinese, due to its perceived medicinal properties. In French, sea cucumber is known as bêche-de-mer. In Portuguese, it is known as bicho do mar which translates to sea animal.
East and Southeast Asia regard sea cucumber as a delicacy, in other parts of the world, this marine animal is not so well-known. Due to how much people hunt and catch sea cucumbers, the species are endangered and at risk of going extinct.
Finding fresh sea cucumber could be quite the chore. It would be easier to get frozen, or dried sea cucumber from Asian markets. If you still find it hard to buy some, you can place an order online to buy sea cucumber and have it delivered to your home.
Why Are Sea Cucumbers So Expensive?
Sea cucumbers are beginning to gain recognition. As people begin to demand it and more sea cucumbers are harvested, the price will begin to climb. This is due to the availability of sea cucumber.
In the space of 5 years, the cost of buying sea cucumber has increased by 17 percent. When divers have to dive deeper and take more risks to get them, the price of sea cucumber will increase at retail sales.
Fact You Don’t Know About Sea Cucumber
- Sea cucumbers are more populated on the floor of the pacific ocean.
- There are over 650 known species of sea cucumber and only 10 of these species have commercial value.
- In Japan, sea cucumber is eaten raw as Sashimi. The dried ovary of the sea cucumber is also eaten by the Japanese and it goes by the name konoko.