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SoPo Seafood Recipes

Processing Maine Sea Urchin Roe (Uni)

SoPo Seafood visits Portland, Maine Sea Urchin processor

by Joshua Edgcombe, Co-Founder of SoPo Seafood - February 14, 2021
Photography/Videography by Jacqueline Clark AKA the Briny Babe

Processing Maine Urchin Roe

Seasonal announcement: The season for fresh Maine Urchin Roe ends in March. The season will be closed for the summer and reopen in late September 2022.
We recently had the honor of visiting our Maine Urchin (Uni) processor in Portland, Maine. It was so interesting getting to see first-hand exactly how this delicacy gets prepared for market.

Above: you can view a short film of our visit and how Uni is delicately prepared for market by hand. 

There are two ways Sea Urchins are harvested, by divers and by fishing boats using drag nets.

The majority of Sea Urchins that are harvested in Maine are done so by licensed scuba divers. This process causes minimal damage/disruption to the sea floor – divers can also hand-select the urchins that are market sized and leave the ones that are not. 

Live Maine Sea Urchins

Above: recently harvested Sea Urchins ready to be processed. 

Once the Urchins are harvested, they are delivered to local processing facilities like this one in Portland, Maine. To get Sea Urchin Roe (AKA Uni), Sea Urchins are cut and processed by hand. This delicate process yields beautiful quality fresh (sushi-grade) uni.

Cracked Maine Sea urchins

Above: the urchins must be cracked open to retrieve the roe (uni) 

There are two ways that Uni is prepared for market, on wooden trays and treated with preservatives, or in salt-water trays. At SoPo, we only offer the salt-water uni. Salt-water uni is considered the number 1 or highest quality grade available.
At SoPo, you can order sushi-grade number 1 quality Uni for overnight delivery to your door. Orders can be placed here! Fresh uni is also available at the SoPo Market and Bar  in South Portland, Maine.

Sea urchin Graded for quality Uni roe

Above: the roe (uni) is carefully examined and graded for size and quality. 

Fresh salt-water Maine Uni