Sea cucumbers are a delicacy in many parts of the world, but they can be difficult to prepare. To make them tender and flavorful, they must be cooked and dried properly. This guide will walk you through the steps of tenderizing sea cucumbers, from boiling to drying. The first step is to boil the sea cucumber for 10 minutes to 1 and a half hours, depending on its size.
This serves several purposes: it kills any microorganisms that could be damaged before drying, thickens the body wall, reduces free water in the tissues, and reduces the amount of toxin in toxic species. Once boiled, the sea cucumber should be cooled, cut open, and have its organs removed. If it still feels hard, repeat the boiling process two or three times until it softens completely. After boiling and cleaning, sea cucumbers are sorted by size and spread out on drying platforms or wire mesh trays.
To remove the skin from the outer layer, they can be buried in damp sand for 12 to 18 hours. To remove long, thin longitudinal muscles, place the sea cucumber in pure, clean seawater to contract or shorten the muscles. Finally, sea cucumbers need to be dried periodically to avoid spoiling. Smoke dryers can be used for this purpose; they are made from galvanized sheets with trays of sea cucumbers arranged in vertical rows above the dryer.