Sea Urchin Culinary Info
Sea Urchin Flavor Profile
Fresh Sea Urchin is a unique and exotic culinary delight. Quality Sea Urchin roe has a sweet taste and a smooth, buttery texture similar to what one would imagine sea air to be like. In the Orkney Islands the roe in times past was used instead of butter. Male roe has a smoother, silkier texture; while the female roe has a texture similar to a fine cream of wheat.
Red Sea Urchin, Green Sea Urchin, Purple Sea Urchin, Uni, Whores' Eggs, Sea Hedgehog
Sea Urchins are small, sphere shaped sea creatures covered with spines which can be very sharp and painful. They are members of the phylum Echinodermata also includes sea stars, sea cucumbers and brittle stars. Echinoderms have a five-fold symetry which is not apparent in sea urchins when covered with spines, but is very apparent in the dried test (shell). There are about 500 species of Sea Urchins, but for the commercial market in the United States the red, purple and green sea urchins are by far the most marketed species.
The Red Sea Urchin is the largest commercial urchin and grows to a diameter of 7". The Green Sea Urchin is the smallest with an average diameter of 1 1/2". It is the roe of the sea urchin which is a culinary delight. When the urchin is opened, there is a star pattern of 5 membranes containing yellow or orange colored roe. Both the male gonads and the female roe are simply marketed as "roe".
Range & Habitat
Sea Urchins are found worldwide, but commercially are most prevalent along the North American coasts. The Red, Purple and Green Sea Urchin are found on the Pacific Coast with the Red & Purple found from Baja California to northern Alaskan waters. The Green Sea Urchin is found from Washington to Alaska on the West Coast, and it is the only urchin harvested on the Atlantic Coast.
Typical Wholesale Products
Fresh whole, fresh roe, frozen roe, salted roe, canned roe, fermented paste.
Fresh Sea Urchin Availability
The best quality roe is available September - April.
Sea Urchin Nutritional Information
based upon a 1 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving.
Sea Urchin Video Training Links
Clicking on the images below will open sea urchin videos on YouTube in a separate window.
|Opening a Sea Urchin||Open a Sea Urchin||Open a Sea Urchin|
Additional Resources:Seafood Watch
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