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When is uni in season?


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8 replies to this topic

#1 LordBalthazar

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 04:38 PM

If you've never tried live uni sashimi, you've never really tried uni. Okay, granted, it isn't to everyone's taste, but the creamy sweetness of the fresh-out-of-the-shell variety is so markedly different from the occasionally gamey-tasting offering found in most restaurants.

I've had the live version a Kamei Royale and, when I inquired about availability a couple of months ago, I was told uni season was in October. However, when I inquired at Shota (another place where I've ordered live uni), I was told I was out of luck since the season was in March.

So, which is it? Anyone know?
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#2 Memo

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 06:07 PM

Good question - since you're talking about gonads (of the sea urchin - prettily referred to as roe).

I didn't know there was a harvesting season.

I do know there is a size restriction - 55 mm diameter - the legal size limit for harvesting in B.C.
(It takes your average urchin about three to four years to reach this size.) And the restriction supposedly allows the spikey little ones to spawn at least once before they end up on your sashimi plate.

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#3 maher

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 10:15 PM

here is a source you might check with, as i understand it they are one of the biggest processors of uni off the coast of san diego. According to jeffrey Steingarten it is one of the major uni producing areas in the us

http://www.catalinaop.com/

#4 PearL

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 12:00 AM

I've already begun my live uni feasting at the following: 1) Octopus Garden 2) some restaurant on Park in Richmond, I forgot the name of the place. Around the time live uni became sparse mid-spring, Sada-san at Octopus Garden advised us the next season would begin around October...

#5 Domestic Goddess

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 06:26 AM

I've had sea urchin roe for the first time when I was a little girl. We were at the beach in a city called Bacolod in the Philippines. I was walking and found a fisherman harvesting sea urchins. He proceeded to tell me that you can eat them and showed me how to safely crunch the spines first. Then he opened a hole at the bottom of the sea urchin by banging the bottom at the edge of a sharp rock and washed the shell pieces with the sea water. He then told me to scrape the roe with my thumbnail and pop into my mouth. It tasted like slightly salty soft scrambled eggs. It was heaven!

Edited by Domestic Goddess, 08 October 2006 - 06:27 AM.

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#6 chefadamg

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 06:39 AM

here is a source you might check with, as i understand it they are one of the biggest processors of uni off the coast of san diego. According to jeffrey Steingarten it is one of the major uni producing areas in the us

http://www.catalinaop.com/

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I've been using Catalina Offshore for a few years. GREAT product. And as far as I know, they harvest year round.

#7 johnnyd

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 07:19 AM

I was sea-urchin harvester here in the Gulf of Maine for seven years (see goofy avatar).

The hand-harvesting (by scuba apparatus) season here opened on September 11th and ends in March when the gonads begin spawning. 95% of Maine's uni is shipped to Japan - the rest stays in the Northeast, I believe. Our local sushi bars have excellent product right now... had some this week.
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#8 johnnyd

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 05:40 AM

to wit:

I didn't know there was a harvesting season.

...and

I was told uni season was in October. However, when I inquired at Shota (another place where I've ordered live uni), I was told I was out of luck since the season was in March.
So, which is it? Anyone know?

Northern hemisphere sea urchins spawn in the spring and are therefore not available. Any uni in western or eastern Canadian sushi bars are usually from Chile.

More information on the BC Sea Urchin Fishery.
"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II
Portland Food Map.com

#9 Shellback

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 06:39 PM

If you've never tried live uni sashimi, you've never really tried uni.  Okay, granted, it isn't to everyone's taste, but the creamy sweetness of the fresh-out-of-the-shell variety is so markedly different from the occasionally gamey-tasting offering found in most restaurants.

I've had the live version a Kamei Royale and, when I inquired about availability a couple of months ago,  I was told uni season was in October.  However, when I inquired at Shota (another place where I've ordered live uni), I was told I was out of luck since the season was in March.

So, which is it?  Anyone know?

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According to my husband who is in the industry, local Sea Urchin season just started last week. They processed their first batch and most of it went to Japan. The season starts in October and ends around April or when the quota runs out.