Processing sea cucumbers is a complex process that includes cutting, salting, cooking, smoking and drying. The price of dried sea cucumber depends on the species, size and quality of the processing. To meet the growing demand, cultivation technology for sea cucumbers was developed in China in the 1980s and has since been refined. Vacuum cooking is the most effective method for producing ready-to-eat (RTE) sea cucumber products with the highest content of proteins, fats, ashes, polysaccharides, minerals and amino acids.
It also produces the highest total retention values (TRVs) for all chemical and biochemical components studied, with the exception of trace elements. Approximate composition, content of polysaccharides and selected minerals in fresh (FC) and RTE sea cucumber products. Vacuum cooking can reduce the processing cycle of RTE products to half a day. Effects of processing methods on the chemical compositions and nutritional quality of ready-to-eat sea cucumber (Apostichopus japonicus).
The TRVs of RTE products were measured to determine the optimal processing method, since high TRVs are related to the conservation of nutrients in sea cucumbers and are economically desirable for sea cucumber with RTE. In recent years, Apostichpous japonica has become the dominant species cultivated in northern China. Therefore, it can be concluded that vacuum cooking methods are better than traditional processing methods in preserving the nutritional quality of sea cucumbers. In terms of composition, only a general and significant decrease was observed in all RTE sea cucumber products compared to those of FC products in ashes.
The comparison of raw sea cucumber with sea cucumber processed by different methods showed that the basic nutrients, polysaccharides, amino acids and minerals examined in this study, with the exception of Zn and Cu, differed significantly depending on the processing method. Traditionally, fresh sea cucumbers are processed to obtain salty material by boiling and salting them and then processed in RTE by rehydration and repeated boiling for 3 to 5 days. Sea cucumbers are generally processed for consumption using a number of procedures such as boiling, salting, drying and soaking. Although the content of retained nutrients is a special concern for consumers when choosing sea cucumber products, there is very little data showing the nutrient retention patterns of sea cucumbers processed by different methods.
Therefore, vacuum cooking without soaking can be a promising alternative for producing RTE sea cucumber products with high nutritional quality.