Cucumaria is a genus of echinoderm invertebrate animals from the holothurian class. The modern fauna of holothurians consists of more than a thousand species, which are divided into 6 orders and differ from each other in the form of tentacles, calcareous ring and a set of internal organs.
The oldest fossils of echinoderm invertebrates are attributed to the Silurian period (443.8 ± 1.5 million years ago - 419.2 ± 3.2 million years ago).
The genus cucumaria has about 50 species. The animal is used by mankind as a food product. Most often, the ingredient is boiled, dried or canned. What you need to know about cucumaria, is it safe to eat a product and where to look for a special snack?
The spineless animal has an elongated muscular body. The body is very dense, a slight roundness is formed at the rear end. During the life of the animal, the body is in an extended position. As soon as the cucumaria rises not on the surface, the body will greatly decrease in size due to tension and dynamic muscle contraction. Upon contact with air and an abundance of ultraviolet radiation, the body of the cucumaria assumes a spherical shape and loses more than 50% of its primary volume.
The echinoderm is painted in a dark palette of a brown or purple hue. Color can depend on many factors, including age or habitat. The ventral side of cucumaria is slightly flattened. Her color is much lighter than the rest of the body, and the darkest side is considered the dorsal.
The front of the body is provided with a mouth opening. 10 branched tentacles surround him. Cucumaria reaches an average of 40 centimeters in length and 1 kilogram of live weight.
The abdominal part of the body is dotted with many ambulacral legs. What it is? Ambulacral or vascular system is a unique hydraulic system of echinoderms. It is she who is responsible for their movement, breathing, touch and secretion. The system is formed at the very beginning of the development of the organism from the rudiments of coelom (the secondary cavity of the multicellular body).
The ambulacral system consists of a near-mouth ring and 5 radial channels. To receive information from the external environment, a special organ was formed - a porous madrepore plate. She evaluates the situation in the outside world, evens out the hydrostatic pressure outside and inside the animal organism. Ambulacral legs are located on the surface of the body - these are hundreds of flexible tubes in the shape of a cylinder with a suction cup / sole at the free ends. Such tubes can be seen in sea urchins and stars, in sea lilies or ofiur, the ambulacral legs are formed by peaked.
How does the animal move? The legs are driven by a constant change in pressure in ampoules and channels. Water passes through them, then falls into the near-mouth channel, in which it is divided into 5 radial channels. Water rapidly fills ampoules located at the very base of the legs. Ampoules begin to shrink, which causes the water to move into the legs and stretch them a little. At this time, the suction cups of the legs are attached to some convenient object or surface. After each sharp contraction, the legs change their size, due to this, the invertebrate moves. Cucumaria has only 2-4 rows of such organs, which are located strictly along the radii, to ensure the functional movement of the echinoderm.
Cucumaria lifestyle and distribution
Young invertebrates prefer to dwell among thickets of high algae. There they explore the world and conduct active sorties. More adult invertebrates choose a sedentary and sedentary lifestyle. In some cases, they still get out and move limply along the seabed. The echinoderm does not need to worry about safety or food. Everything that is necessary for a quality life has already been laid in them. Animals feed on particles of silt, which are collected using special tentacles.
Cummuria spawns 2 times a year. The first breeding season is characteristic of early May, the second - the beginning of July. The animal simply splashes the reproductive products into the water and expects the same return from other individuals. Echinoderms form large eggs, which are painted in a deep emerald hue. Later, larvae develop from these eggs. They are nailed to plankton for 10-14 days, after which they settle to the bottom. It is important to note that planktonic larva is completely unnecessary food. She has been engaged in intensive internal growth and development for 2 weeks from the resources already received, that the need for additional nutrition disappears by itself.
You can meet a strange animal in a tropical and subtropical climate. They prefer to live off the coast, much less likely to choose enclosed bays at a depth of 1 to 100 meters. The highest probability is to meet cucumaria at a depth of 5 to 50 meters in relatively open areas of the seabed. The chances of a productive meeting increase if several types of soil are concentrated on the marine site. Invertebrate can also be found in Primorye, Sakhalin, the Japanese, Okhotsk, Barents Seas. Permissible depth - from 0.5 to 100 meters.
The value of invertebrate for the human body
Cucumaria is a storehouse of biologically active components, vitamins and minerals. The product is especially rich in B vitamins, ascorbic acid, holoturin and hexosamine. These components have a beneficial effect on the functionality of the nervous and cardiovascular systems, strengthen the immune system and improve the functioning of all body systems. The ingredient stimulates brain activity, helps to concentrate on details faster and better. Pay attention to the dish from the echinoderm animal should be those who daily engaged in exhausting mental activity. After a few days of daily use, you can feel and evaluate the result. Doctors recommend a specialized diet with the addition of cucumari species for diseases of the thyroid gland and endocrine system. The product strengthens the protective functions of the immune system, replenishes the energy potential and helps the body to quickly integrate into the usual pace after the illness.
What else is the product useful for:
- reduces the concentration of sugar in the blood, therefore it is recommended for diabetes;
- participates in the synthesis of protein structures and is responsible for accelerating the renewal of liver cells, which helps to avoid dystrophic changes in the organ;
- helps to improve erectile function in men and prevent the development of diseases of the urogenital system;
- restores the connective tissue of the bone skeleton, strengthens the spine and joints;
- used as a preventive measure for the development of malignant cancerous tumors, inhibits their growth and helps the body minimize the harmful effects of the disease;
- improves the functionality of the brain, respiratory system and kidneys;
- possesses an antiviral effect, suppresses gastric parasites and cleanses the body of pathogenic microflora, is able to fight against fungal pathogens;
- in alternative medicine is used as the only drug in the fight against HIV.
Use of ingredient in gastronomy
The product is typical for dishes of Japanese and Asian culinary traditions. Much less often, invertebrate is served in the Far Eastern regions of Russia. Asians liked the product for its unusual original taste and uncountable list of beneficial properties for the body. Everything is prepared from the echinoderm - salads, appetizers, side dishes, first courses. Most often served with other seafood, lean meats or plenty of vegetables.
Cucumaria has a pronounced taste, which must be supplemented with spices. An excessive amount of additives will shift the taste accents of the dish, confuse the consumer and make the final result unsuitable for consumption.
The main rule for the preparation of invertebrate seafood is not to interrupt its basic taste and aroma.
The ingredient is forbidden to eat raw. This can be fraught with serious poisoning. There is a special system for preparing the product: first, the meat is boiled for 3-4 hours and only after that they start cooking according to the selected recipe.
To save consumers time, large brands sell off-the-shelf, rather than fresh, invertebrate carcasses. It is enough to defrost the product and continue gastronomic experiments.
Boiled meat can be frozen and stored in the freezer for several months. Take advantage of this to save both material resources and time.
How to boil the product? The ingredient must first be thawed and left overnight so that it "reaches". In the morning, remove the entrails from the carcass, rinse thoroughly several times and send to boiling water. The liquid can be pre-salted to enhance the taste and aroma palette. From time to time you need to look at the broth and remove the foam balls. Bring the broth to a boil over a fast fire, remove the foam, then reduce the heat and let cook for another 2-3 hours. As soon as the meat becomes soft and pliable - remove the dish from the stove. The pot with meat and broth should be left overnight at room temperature. In the morning, simply drain the water, get the main ingredient and continue your culinary searches.
Who is forbidden to use the product? Doctors say that the only contraindication to eating meat is individual intolerance to the component. In all other cases, there are no obstacles to a completely new and extremely useful gastronomic discovery.
Cucumaria Risotto Recipe
|917 kcal||25.9 g||58.3 g||56.4 g|
We will need:
- Arborio rice (special rice for making risotto) - 240 grams;
- frozen cucumaria - 140 grams;
- celery stalk - 10 grams;
- butter - 40 grams;
- olive oil - 50 milliliters;
- shallots - 85 grams;
- carrots - 30 grams;
- garlic - 2 cloves;
- Parmesan - 150 grams;
- chicken stock - 500 milliliters;
- dry red wine - 400 milliliters;
- tomato paste - 50 grams;
- cream (recommended fat content - 33%) - 300 milliliters;
- parsley / thyme / salt / pepper / favorite spices to taste.
The first step is to properly defrost the invertebrate meat. Grind two thirds of the prepared product to a state of straw 5-7 mm thick. Cut the rest of the carcass into small cubes.
Grind celery, carrots, shallots and garlic into small circles. Fry all the ingredients in butter, add a sprig of thyme in the process. As soon as the vegetables begin to cover with a golden crust - introduce tomato paste into the pan. Stir the contents thoroughly and keep on fire for another 2-3 minutes. Then pour 60 milliliters of wine into the container. As soon as half the alcohol has evaporated - add chopped cucumaria to the pan, remove from heat and leave the dish for at least 1 hour. Tastes of herbs, vegetables and meat during this time should be mixed and create a unique taste tandem.
Fry a little onion, garlic, thyme in a clean pan, then add arborio rice and meat cubes. Pour 320 milliliters of wine, evaporate, then add chicken stock in portions. Make sure that the fluids have time to evaporate. Once the chicken stock has completely evaporated and tastes good, stir in the grated Parmesan. Final chord - add cream, favorite spices and remove the finished dish from the fire.
Combine the contents of the two pans and serve immediately after cooking.