Sea cucumbers are a type of marine invertebrate that have been a part of Chinese cuisine since the Ming Dynasty. They can be eaten raw, pickled, or fried and have a slippery texture and an insipid flavor. The most expensive type is the thorny sea cucumber, which is elongated and dark in color, with a thorny exterior. Sea cucumbers are renowned for their medicinal properties and have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including fatigue, joint pain and tumors.
They are also an excellent source of niacin, an essential nutrient that is not easily produced on its own in the body. Recent research has discovered that sea cucumbers can feed (and thrive) on waste from fish farms, keeping the ocean floor clean and providing food for a valuable source of food for humans. An obstacle for those who are not used to eating sea cucumber could be its viscous appearance and gelatinous texture. However, like tofu, sea cucumber is tasteless but has the ability to absorb the flavors of the foods and condiments with which it is cooked.
Fresh sea cucumbers are most easily found in coastal regions; however, dried sea cucumbers can be found all over the country. When purchasing sea cucumbers, choose a package in which there is not a lot of white film on the outside of the sea cucumbers, as this will make it difficult to clean them. Once these steps are completed, cut the sea cucumber into slices and combine it with other strong-tasting foods, such as winter melon, shiitake mushrooms and Chinese cabbage. Sea cucumbers offer a host of health benefits to those brave enough to try them; however, they can thin the blood so those taking blood thinners or blood-thinning medications should avoid them.
Additionally, while sea cucumbers are not seafood, they are often processed together with seafood and can cause a similar allergic reaction.