Can You Eat Starfish? What Does Starfish Taste Like & Are Starfish Edible?

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Starfish are beautiful sea creatures, often seen rarely in the wild by most of us. Although did you know that many people do fish starfish? In parts of the world it is a delicacy. So, can you eat starfish? What does starfish taste like & are starfish edible?

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In this article we will explore what types of starfish are edible, as well as how to prepare starfish. We’ll also get to know if and where it is legal to consume them.

edible starfish

Are Starfish Edible

Starfish is not a common dish that is on our restaurant menus so it’s hard to picture if people eat starfish. But the answer is yes, humans can eat starfish.

Eating a starfish is common in many countries. In fact, it’s often purchased as street food. Starfish do not have a brain or contain blood, meaning they are mainly meat. This meat in the legs is the part of the starfish that is edible to humans.

Starfish are found on beaches and are fished in many of the large oceans. There are nearly 2000 different types of species of starfish in the wild, with many of them having legs between a range of 5 to 40.

Only the meat on a starfish is edible, which is only a small percentage of what a starfish is made up of. Anything on the outside of the starfish is not edible and can be poisonous. Many people only consume starfish if it has been prepared by a chef. This is because it’s a difficult task to make sure you have removed all the poisonous parts.

When eating a starfish it is best to break off each leg and crack it open, like you would do with a lobster to access the meat inside. The meat is a grey color and has a soft, mushy texture. This meat can either be eaten with a fork or your fingers.

Starfish is mainly eaten by Asian cultures, such as countries like Japan and China. Starfish are commonly sold in food markets and are normally served on a stick. It is unlikely you will find many starfish being served across America, European, or western countries.

Can people eat all starfish? Some types of starfish are known to be poisonous and inedible for humans. Although it is best to eat starfish cooked and not raw.

Is eating a starfish legal? As cooking and consuming starfish is not a universal delicacy, it is only legal to fish and cook starfish where harvesting starfish is common, such as Japan and China.

Are starfish protected? In America it is illegal to remove starfish from rocks on beaches between areas of high tide and beyond the low tide line. You will only be able to remove starfish if you have a fishing license.

Cooked Starfish

Cooking starfish meat is the best way to safely eat a starfish. It is best to either boil the starfish or prepare the starfish and cook it by frying.

Here is a step by step method on how to prepare, cook and eat starfish:

To boil your starfish you will need:

  • Starfish
  • 3 cups of water
  • 3 tablespoons Salt
  • Small pot
  • Knife
  • Pliers or a lobster cracker
  • Spoon
  • Pot of 20 grams sauce or seasoning

Here’s how you cook starfish:

  • Step 1: Fill a pot three quarters full with salted water and bring to the boil.
  • Step 2: Place 2 or 3 starfish into the water and allow to boil for 8 minutes.
  • Step 3: Once the 8 minutes have passed, remove the starfish from the boiling water and place it into a bowl of cold water for 15 seconds.
  • Step 4: Lay the starfish belly up and cut each foot open to reveal the meat inside which will look grey or brown.
  • Step 5: Use pliers or a lobster cracker to crack the hard shell that is on the outside of the starfish.
  • Step 6: Use a spoon to scrape out all of the meat.
  • Step 7: If the meat is tasteless, pair with a sauce or season the meat.

To fry your starfish you will need:

  • Starfish 
  • A deep fryer 
  • Oil of your choice, 4 tablespoons
  • Knife 
  • Wooden stick 
  • Pot of 20 grams sauce or seasoning

Here’s how to fry starfish:

  • Step 1: Fill your deep fryer with an oil of your choice. 
  • Step 2: Place 2 or 3 starfish into the deep fryer and allow to cook for 10 minutes. 
  • Step 3: Once the 10 minutes have passed, remove the starfish from the deep fryer and place it into a bowl of cold water for 15 seconds. 
  • Step 4: Lay the starfish belly up and cut each foot open to reveal the meat inside which will look grey or brown. 
  • Step 5: Poke a wooden stick through one of the starfish legs to be able to hold the starfish on the wooden stick upright. 
  • Step 6: Break each leg after the other and peel the skin back to eat the meat inside. 
  • Step 7: If the meat is tasteless, pair with a sauce or season the meat. 

Can You Eat Starfish Raw

You can not eat starfish raw due to its structure and that it can regrow broken legs. Eating starfish raw may also cause food poisoning.

Just like lobsters, it is best to prepare a starfish alive and then cook and consume shortly after. You can also consume a starfish for up to 24 hours of it being dead. If the starfish is dead for many hours before you intend to prepare and cook it, it is wise to refrigerate it.

What Type Of Starfish Can You Eat

It is common that on regular starfish some of the body parts are poisonous but there are types of starfish that are completely poisonous.

One of the most commonly known types of starfish that are highly poisonous is the crown-of-thorns starfish. The crown-of-thorns starfish have venomous thorn-like spines that cover the top half of its body. The crown-of-thorns starfish is known to be one of the largest starfish in the world.

Poisonous starfish contain tetrodotoxins and saponins in their body which can be toxic if consumed. Food poisoning can cause very serious side effects and should be prevented at all costs.

In Indonesia, poisonous and non-poisonous starfish are collected to prepare to cook. The poisonous starfish are cut and squeezed. This makes sure all the water from their bodies is drained. The poisonous starfish are then cooked (either fried or bodied) with coconut.

This method of cooking a poisonous starfish is considered safe. Although there has been no scientific evidence to suggest this.

FAQs

What Does A Starfish Taste Like?

As starfish are very small and are considered meat and not fish, what do they taste like?
This is a question that has many answers. Starfish is an acquired taste with many people comparing the taste of a starfish to be close to the taste of a Chinese river crab, Qingdao sea urchins or sea urchins. Starfish have also been said to taste like ocean water, the smell of a beach and even tasteless!
Many people avoid eating starfish as the taste can be unpleasant to some. The best way to describe the taste of a starfish is that you may experience a bitter taste but a creamy texture. The texture of a starfish is meant to be soft, slightly mushy and moist, seeing as they will have been soaked in sea water.
People who find starfish tasteless recommend seasoning the starfish when cooking or pairing the starfish with a sauce to enhance the flavor.

Are Starfish Poisonous To Eat?

Starfish can be partly poisonous but there are still parts of the starfish you can eat. It is safe to eat cooked starfish but only if you avoid the shell. Food poisoning can cause nasty side symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, headache, muscle aches and numbness of the skin. It is best to avoid this at all costs therefore you should only buy starfish from a reputable seller and always make sure to cook it correctly.

What Part Of A Starfish Is Edible?

The only part of a starfish that is edible is the meat inside each of its legs. Anything on the outsides of the starfish, like it’s shells, hard skin or feet are not edible and can be poisonous.
Since not a lot of information is available on what starfish you can and can’t eat, only consume them from experienced starfish sellers or cooks.

How Do You Cook Starfish?

You can cook starfish by either boiling them in salted water or deep frying them. These are the most popular methods when cooking starfish.

Starfish Are Edible!

It may not be legal here to fish or cook starfish but you can consume starfish in Japan or China and they are edible! Many do not like the taste or texture but starfish are a delicacy in japan. As many parts of the starfish are poisonous and there are types of starfish that are fully poisonous, it is best to purchase starfish from a reputable shop. Carefully follow guidelines on how to prepare, cook and what parts of a starfish to consume to make sure it is safe to eat.

Have you ever eaten starfish? Have you ever cooked starfish? What is the best way to prepare and eat starfish?

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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