How to Process Sea Cucumber Alum

Written by sumei fitzgerald
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How to Process Sea Cucumber Alum
Sea cucumber is often reconstituted in soups. (soba noodles soup image by Lombok from

Traditionally, sea cucumbers were processed by boiling, sand-scouring and sun-drying. The use of smoking and alum treatment was added to the process to improve drying and preservation according to the entrepreneur website EntrePinoys Atbp and the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development. The Food and Culture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) also has information on traditional and more modern ways to process sea cucumber.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Knife
  • Water
  • Boiling pot
  • Papaya leaves
  • Alum
  • Smoker
  • Drying rack

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  1. 1

    Boil the sea cucumber for three to five minutes.

    How to Process Sea Cucumber Alum
    Sea cucumbers are a rich source of protein and minerals. (sea cucumber image by Amjad Shihab from
  2. 2

    Smoke the sea cucumbers for 24 to 48 hours.

  3. 3

    Slit the sea cucumbers from the anus to midway along the body and remove the mud-filled intestine.

  4. 4

    Boil the gutted sea cucumbers for 10 to 90 minutes depending upon size. The boiling tenderises the meat, kills micro-organisms and toxins, reduces water and salt in the tissue and thickens the body wall, explains the FAO.

    The sea cucumber is cooked when they have a "blubber-like form" and are as bouncy as rubber balls.

  5. 5

    Remove skin deposits with a hard brush or use papaya leaves to clean the limy grain from the sea cucumber and wash them in a 5 per cent alum solution.

    How to Process Sea Cucumber Alum
    The acid in papaya leaves can remove the limy grain from sea cucumbers (3 feuilles de payer image by Unclesam from
  6. 6

    Smoke the sea cucumbers for 10 to 20 minutes to hasten the drying process.

    How to Process Sea Cucumber Alum
    Spread sea cucumbers across drying racks like these squid. (drying fish in Asia image by lefebvre_jonathan from
  7. 7

    Spread the sea cucumbers across drying racks or wire mesh trays. When smoked twice, they may dry in as little as one day. Sun-drying alone may take from one to three weeks. The sea cucumbers are dry when they appear brittle.

Tips and warnings

  • Sea cucumbers absorb moisture so redrying may be necessary over time.

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