How are sea cucumbers used?
Sea cucumbers have been used as a food source and medicinal ingredient in Asian and Middle Eastern countries for centuries. In fact, they have been fished from the Pacific Ocean for over 170 years. These slug-like animals are used either fresh or dried in various dishes, though the dried form is by far the most commonly used. Dried sea cucumber, known as bêche-de-meror trepang, is rehydrated and added to recipes like soups, stews, and stir-fries. Sea cucumbers can also be eaten raw, pickled, or fried. They have a slippery texture and bland taste, so they’re usually infused with flavor from other ingredients like meats, other seafood, or spices. They’re often combined with produce like napa cabbage, winter melon, and shiitake mushrooms.
Sea cucumbers are incredibly nutritious!
Sea cucumbers are an excellent source of nutrients.
Four ounces (112 grams) of sea cucumber delivers:
- Calories: 60
- Protein: 14 grams
- Fat: less than one gram
- Vitamin A: 8% of the Daily Value (DV)
- B2 (Riboflavin): 81% of the DV
- B3 (Niacin): 22% of the DV
- Calcium: 3% of the DV
- Magnesium: 4% of the DV
Sea cucumbers are very low in calories and fat and high in protein, making them a weight-loss-friendly food. They also contain many powerful substances, including antioxidants, which are good for your health. Sea cucumbers are high in protein, with most species comprising 41–63% protein. Adding protein sources to meals and snacks helps keep you full by slowing the emptying of your stomach. This can help you eat less and stabilize your blood sugar levels.
Foods rich in protein, such as sea cucumbers, may be especially beneficial for people with diabetes who are looking to control their blood sugar levels. Plus, diets rich in protein may benefit heart health, help lower blood pressure, and improve bone density.
Packed with beneficial compounds!
Sea cucumbers are not only packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals but also contain several substances that may benefit overall health.
For example, they contain phenol and flavonoid antioxidants, which have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body.
Diets rich in these substances are linked to a reduced risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s.
Sea cucumbers are also rich in compounds called triterpene glycosides, which possess antifungal, antitumor, and immune-boosting properties.
What’s more, these marine animals are very high in compounds that are structurally related to chondroitin sulfate, an important component of human connective tissue found in cartilage and bone.
Foods and supplements that contain chondroitin sulfate may benefit those with joint diseases like osteoarthritis.
The bottom line.
Sea cucumbers are interesting marine animals that have a variety of culinary and medicinal uses.
They are a nutritious protein source that can be added to a number of delicious dishes.
Sea cucumbers may also have a number of health benefits, but more research is needed before conclusions can be made.
If you are feeling adventurous, try adding sea cucumber to your dishes in place of more traditional seafood.
S. Korean Dried Sea Cucumber - (Large) - 1/2 lb (2-4pc)
Submerge dried scallop into room temp. water and let soak in refrigerator for 2-3 days (changing water once a day) to soften them up before adding to your favorite dish. Dried sea cucumbers go well with wild mushrooms and leafy vegetables, like napa cabbage or spinach.