MÉTRO: A superfood that surprises everyone

Wild Arctic Sea Cucumber

(The original french report is here: www.journalmetro.com )


You shouldn’t stop at its appearance, because if the sea cucumber has an unattractive appearance, it is THE new superfood to discover!

While Montrealers are more and more concerned with their health, and therefore their diet, a new superfood is emerging: the dried sea cucumber. Captured in the wild in the cold waters of the Gaspé Peninsula, the Nordic sea cucumber is an incredibly nutrient rich marine species.

Arctica Food has been behind the marketing and export of sea cucumber for six years now. It was originally fished for export to China, whose inhabitants are keen fans of the product, while in the West, it is just starting to gain attention.

“Dried sea cucumber has been part of the Chinese tradition for a very long time; we already consumed it at the time of the emperors, ”explains Lory Wang, vice-president at Arctica Food. “Our goal today is to introduce Quebecers to it,” she adds.


“Sea cucumbers are appreciated for their many nutritious qualities, but also for the vitality that can result from their consumption. We call it Viagra of the Sea! ”

Lory Wang, vice-president at Arctica Food


Very rich in non-fatty proteins, low in sodium (after soaking), having a high level of fatty acids, such as omega-6 and omega-3, and a significant percentage of vitamins A, B, D and E , as well as an array of minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, manganese and silicon, sea cucumber easily wins the title of superfood!

How to prepare it?

“When dried, sea cucumber is rock hard, and is non-perishable for about five years. It must be rehydrated for three to five days, depending on the technique used, to make it edible. Once rehydrated, it regains up to eight times its weight, and the more it is rehydrated, the more it grows and the more it softens, “said Lory Wang. “The dried form is ideal for storage and export, but we have developed a new product for the Quebec market: the dried cucumber, already rehydrated, then frozen.

In this form, it is more interesting for people here, because it is faster to cook. You don’t have to plan for three to five days of soaking, “said Wang. When rehydrated and frozen, simply thaw it safely in the refrigerator, blanch it for five minutes in lemon water or with ginger slices to bring out the flavors.


How to cook it?

The taste of sea cucumber is not very pronounced. “In China, it is added to porridge and soup. It’s also very good braised or stewed. It can be used as an alternative source of protein in almost any recipe. For example, you can replace some of the ground beef used to make a spaghetti sauce with finely chopped sea cucumber. This reduces the intake of fat and cholesterol and adds nutrients to our sauce. The taste will not be altered, “says Lory. It is also interesting to discover it in its natural form, that is to say by slicing it finely and adding it to a salad or a poke bowl. ”


And the taste?

“We did a few tastings at Quartier DIX30 and the comment that comes up most often is that the texture is a combination of snail, mushroom and squid. Personally, I find the sea cucumber less rubbery than the squid. People were surprised by how sweet it was, and I would say 8.5 out of 10 people liked the product, ”said Ms. Wang.

Dried sea cucumber by Arctica Food, at Signé Local in Brossard, in specialized ethnic grocery stores in Quebec and on Amazon