NorCal Underwater Hunters

NorCal Underwater Hunters Discussion => Favorite Recipes => Topic started by: maodiver on April 25, 2016, 10:18:25 AM

Title: Purple urchins?
Post by: maodiver on April 25, 2016, 10:18:25 AM
With all the kelp vs urchin info out there, a question comes to mind...

Do you eat the purples?  People keeps saying they are smaller, but I see huge ones all the time, the size of the Reds people rave about.  Do you eat them? I do and find they taste just fine.

Take your 35, find a way to use them and help...the kelp.
Title: Re: Purple urchins?
Post by: dank on April 25, 2016, 10:53:13 AM
The red ones are generally bigger and sweeter, but a good sized purple one is very good nevertheless. In fact, I've had plenty of purple urchin that is just as big and sweet as the red. The overall preference of red over purple has to do with the commercial market, where size is more important. For a recreational diver though, grab some of the bigger purple ones and see for yourself. The advantage we have is freshness. Purple or red, you won't find fresher uni than what you grab yourself. I say eat 'em!
Title: Re: Purple urchins?
Post by: Malibu_Two on April 25, 2016, 12:11:57 PM
I believe the big ones are all red urchins, regardless of their color. Just like black bears can be black, brown, or even white, red urchins can vary in color as well.
The little ones with shorter spines are the purple urchins. Can anyone confirm this?
Title: Re: Purple urchins?
Post by: dank on April 25, 2016, 01:30:06 PM
The purple ones (Strongylocentrotus Purpuratus) turn more maroonish as they age but are still more or less purple. The red ones (Strongylocentrotus Franciscanus) get darker as they age and can appear almost black, especially under water. The purple ones can get big (although not as big as the reds) and are quite good. All the little ones we see are Purpuratus, whose population has exploded. It will be interesting to see how big they will get in coming years, especially if the kelp is slow to recover. They potentially have very long life spans (decades) but nobody lasts long without food.
Title: Re: Purple urchins?
Post by: andrew37 on April 25, 2016, 01:51:54 PM
I believe the big ones are all red urchins, regardless of their color. Just like black bears can be black, brown, or even white, red urchins can vary in color as well.
The little ones with shorter spines are the purple urchins. Can anyone confirm this?

What Dank said above is perfect, but yeah, the easiest way to tell them apart is the spine length. Purple urchins have shorter spines for a given test diameter than the red urchins do. Not that this really helps when you're hunting, but an old professor of mine had a rule of thumb that for purple urchins, the spine length is usually shorter than 1/2 the test diameter, whereas for reds the spine length is usually longer than 1/2 the test diameter. (http://seanet.stanford.edu/EchinoHoloOphio/index.html#S.purpuratus (http://seanet.stanford.edu/EchinoHoloOphio/index.html#S.purpuratus))

 A big purple urchin can be as large as a mid-sized red, but the reds get much bigger.
Title: Re: Purple urchins?
Post by: John on April 25, 2016, 03:55:53 PM
In thinking about doing the urchin butter that I've read about. Anyone tried it? Usually we just crack it open, rinse the nads off in seawater and slurp them down but I don't think I could do 35 of them.
Title: Re: Purple urchins?
Post by: dank on April 25, 2016, 04:19:30 PM
I've made the butter before, it's tremendous! It extends the life of your uni, too. In the raw state it's only going to last so long. Suspending the uni in fat and a bit of acid preserves it very well. I don't know how long exactly it would last though. I've never made a ton of it at once and it gets gobbled up quickly. The real bitch is just cleaning all of them. You need to make sure you have enough beers to finish the very messy job.
Title: Re: Purple urchins?
Post by: maodiver on April 25, 2016, 08:42:29 PM
Please do not clean them at the water's edge.  The rest of us don't want to walk thru spines...
Title: Re: Purple urchins?
Post by: CabKing65 on April 25, 2016, 08:45:37 PM
I use the shells for a Defensive against Bums sleeping near the fence Line.

"Just letting them dry out"
Title: Re: Purple urchins?
Post by: ryang85 on April 25, 2016, 09:03:14 PM
When they dry out do the spines falloff or loose color?  I've always wanted to use them for some type of decoration, but have yet to do more than smash em underwater.
Title: Re: Purple urchins?
Post by: John on April 26, 2016, 09:52:20 AM
When they dry out do the spines falloff or loose color?  I've always wanted to use them for some type of decoration, but have yet to do more than smash em underwater.

I love the skeletons but I've never figured it how to outrage them taxidermy style with the spines and the color. That would be awesome.
Title: Re: Purple urchins?
Post by: ryang85 on April 26, 2016, 12:51:30 PM
He meant like keep them looking the same way they do underwater. With spines and all.

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Title: Re: Purple urchins?
Post by: andrew37 on April 26, 2016, 02:03:20 PM
He meant like keep them looking the same way they do underwater. With spines and all.

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If you just let one dry out the spines should stay on (assuming squirrels/raccoons don't get to it), but as it dries the spines will inevitably fall flat. Urchins use a water vascular system to move, so all of those spines are hydraulically powered. Unless you can find a way to stick them in place (a little epoxy at the base of the spines), they're start to lose their muster as soon as the urchin dies.
Title: Re: Purple urchins?
Post by: ryang85 on April 26, 2016, 03:27:41 PM
I'll have to experiment around with some.  Try some different methods of getting them to stay.

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Title: Re: Purple urchins?
Post by: CabKing65 on April 26, 2016, 04:47:26 PM
Maybe Epoxy them into place and use a Satin Polyurethane stain to hold the color.   I use the poly on Abalone shells and its has done great job holding the colors in tact and even preserving some of the plant life.
Title: Re: Purple urchins?
Post by: John on April 27, 2016, 12:33:48 AM
When they dry out do the spines falloff or loose color?  I've always wanted to use them for some type of decoration, but have yet to do more than smash em underwater.

I love the skeletons but I've never figured it how to outrage them taxidermy style with the spines and the color. That would be awesome.


I just linked how....

Thanks,  I watched that video long ago right before I found your brain tanning video.
Title: Re: Purple urchins?
Post by: Reggae Shark on November 23, 2016, 09:17:43 PM
I've eaten both purple and red urchin. They are both good with reds definitely being bigger.

I kept a big red uni shell for about 2 years now and it still has all of it's spines.