First, rinse off the salt and sand from the surface of the sea cucumber and its cavity. Soak the sea cucumber in clean water for two days, changing the water every day. You can find pre-soaked sea cucumbers on the market, but be wary of unknown suppliers as they may add chemicals to increase the size of the sea cucumber. Such sea cucumbers may shrink or dissolve during cooking, so it's best to rehydrate them yourself.
When handling this expensive product, make sure your hands are clean and do not add salt when preparing dried sea cucumber. If the sea cucumber's stomach is not open, cut it open and remove any intestines you can see with a spoon or small knife.
There are two methods for rehydrating sea cucumbers: a quick approach and a boil & soak method. The quick approach involves soaking the sea cucumber in water for at least 12 hours and cleaning it inside and out with a brush. This will cause a smaller and denser sea cucumber, which will soften and swell as your soup boils.
The boil & soak method involves rehydrating the sea cucumber in various water temperatures for longer periods of time. This will soften the texture to a more pleasant consistency and cause it to expand significantly in size. When using this method, check on rehydration uniformity by squeezing the centre of the sea cucumber. It will be ready to use when the centre has a soft rubber appearance and the surface is slimy.
To ensure you get the most out of your sea cucumbers, plan ahead when preparing dishes with them as it takes some time to prepare them properly. With these tips in mind, you can enjoy 100% natural sea cucumbers with all their healing properties.