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Canadian Urchins
Canadian Urchins
Black and spiny, urchins are not particularly attractive. However, everyone knows that under their spines lie the tastiest delights of the sea-urchin roes. Urchins are found in nearly all oceans worldwide. But come September, keep a sharply eye on Canadian Urchins. They are the largest, lighter in taste than Japanese urchins, and melt in your mouth like cream. Every year from September, city'super imports by air fresh Canadian wild urchins from northern British Columbia- most are from Vancouver and Queen Charlotte Islands on the Pacific coast. Given its moderate climate, clean and clear waters, along with the government’s efforts to maintain an ecological balance in marine life, urchins thrive in an ideal environment to grow and reproduce. For this reason urchins from Canada are regarded as unpolluted, high-quality Jumbo urchins.

Nutritional Value

Urchin roes are rich in Vitamins A, B12, D and E, which protect our immune system, eyes, skin, bones and teeth. They also have a high content of fatty acid, which can prevent heart and artery-related problems, decrease cholesterol and stop blood clotting. The roes are rich in protein, which is easily absorbed by our body. Along with their sweet taste, which stimulates the secretion of saliva, they will surely enhance your appetite.

Choosing Fresh Urchins

To check whether or not the urchin roes are fresh, examine its colour and shape. Fresh urchins roes are yellow-orange, shiny and plump. The roes are easily visible. They should also have a sweet aroma. Urchins that are not fresh are dull in colour, with a loose shape and a more liquid texture. They smell bad and taste bitter. When choosing urchins, make sure the membrane enveloping the roes is intact.

How to Taste

High quality Canadian urchin roes are rich and delicate on the palate. They are sweet and smooth like Hokkaido urchin roes, which are regarded as the supreme delicacy in Japan. As they taste fine and rich, they are delicious when served raw, as sushi or sashimi. They may also be eaten steamed, fried or in soup. Roses sold at city'super have already been extracted and cleaned, so they are best served immediately after purchase. They can also be stored in the freezer for up to one day.

Harvest Season

Urchins have relatively little meat. Their only edible parts are their reproductive glands. So during the reproductive season (June-September) when the urchins begin to spawn, their value decreases. Come autumn, however, the weather cools significantly in Canada. Urchins stop spawning and store their nutrients for surviving the cold winter and preparing for the next reproductive season. So every year from October to April is when urchin roes are most plump and delicious.

How to Catch

Canadian red urchins are caught by diving. Divers use stainless-steel hand racks to hook the urchins attached to rocks. Then they carefully place them in large mesh bags, which are hoisted aboard once full. This method of catching by diving can prevent the urchins from being hurt or damaged. At the same time, other marine life remains intact, thus minimizing the impact on the local ecological balance.

Quality control

The Canadian government enforces comprehensive control over all fishery activities within their waters. They strictly monitor the quality of sea water, maintain the stability of fishery resources while having little or no impact on marine life. Every year, they adjust the harvest quota to avoid a decrease in quantity and quality due to over-fishing. Canadian urchins are therefore clean, healthy and sweet.