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How to Prepare Starfish for Consumption

Updated February 21, 2017

Starfish are not actually fish at all. While the name implies that they are fish, starfish are actually echinoderms, which are closely related to sea urchins and sand dollars. The starfish's cousins, sea urchins, are gaining popularity among chefs and food lovers in the United States. But the starfish remains an animal that is not considered food in most of the Western world. That thought is not shared in Chinese and Japanese culture, however, where starfish are regularly consumed and are even available on the street. Preparing a starfish to eat is actually a fairly easy process.

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  1. Fill a large pot 3/4 of the way with water. Place the water on the stove, turn on the burner and bring the water to a boil.

  2. Add a generous amount of salt to the boiling water -- roughly 1 teaspoon per 4 cups of water. This measurement does not have to be exact; you just want to have salty water.

  3. Place the starfish in the boiling water. It is best to use live starfish, but if you have a starfish that has been dead for less than a day, you can also use that. A starfish that has been dead for more than 24 hours will be too tough to eat.

  4. Boil the starfish for three to four minutes. Remove the starfish from the boiling water and immediately place it in a bowl of cold water for 10 to 15 seconds.

  5. Remove the starfish from cold water and dry it off. To eat the starfish, use a lobster cracker or pair of pliers to crack the hard outer shell. The inside part of the starfish will look grey and that is the part you can eat.

  6. Tip

    There is not much meat on starfish, so be prepared for each person you are serving to eat several. The starfish meat does not have much taste. You can either add seasonings or drip it in a sauce or butter, as you would lobster.

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Things You'll Need

  • Large pot
  • Salt
  • Starfish
  • Bowl
  • Lobster shell cracker or pliers

About the Author

Jamie Farber started writing professionally in 2000. Her work has appeared in several newspapers, including "The Grand Rapids Press," "The Advance" and "The Wooster Daily Record," as well as in several local magazines and on various websites. Farber holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from The College of Wooster.

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