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Sep 8, 2009 11:36 AM

Finding my own uni to eat

Whenever I go to a tropical island like St.Johns, I see so many sea urchins in the water and wondering if they were good enough to collect and eat. I couldnt find anything about those urchins online and decided to ask chowhounders! I just don't wanna risk poisoning myself:P


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  1. it's not just a food safety issue. depending on where you are, there may be laws governing the harvesting of sea could be breaking the law by taking them.

    4 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      I know you need permits but I was wondering if all kinds are safe to eat? That would determine whether i would even spend time to get a permit.

      1. re: thenamesdiana

        actually, from what i've read, of the 800 or so types of sea urchin that are found around the world, few are safe for humans to i don't think it's wise unless you *really* know what you're doing, or enlist the help of an expert to accompany you.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Oh, so thank goodness I didn't succumb to the urge of harvesting the delicious looking urchins I saw, off the coast of some island in South America when I was last there. I always thought of it as a regret, the water being so pristine there.

          1. re: tarteaucitron

            The vast majority are not toxic, but are also no good to eat. Some urchins are poisonous, some are edible but not very interesting, and some are really good. They are an entire class of animals, so it's a bit like asking if mamals are okay to eat (mostly, yeah, although they might not be good ... and don't eat the platypus). In general, the Paracentrotus, Strongylocentrotus and Cidaris genuses are eaten.

            Before you (or the original poster) head off for your next island vacation, you might invest in a field guide to edible urchins.