Sea cucumbers are echinoderms from the class Holothuroidea. They are marine animals with a leathery skin and an elongated body containing a single, branched gonad. Sea cucumbers are found on the sea floor worldwide. There are a number of holothurian species and genera, many of which are targeted for human consumption. The harvested product is variously referred to as trepang, bêche-de-mer or balate.
To prepare the sea cucumber after it is collected, the internal organs are removed, and dirt and sand are washed out of the cavity. It is then boiled in salty water and dried in the air to preserve it. When readied for use in making food, the hard, dried sea cucumber is softened. The process is quite lengthy, which is why this food tends to appear at special dinners and banquets more so than in day-to-day cuisine. To soften the dried sea cucumbers, the instructions are: place the sea cucumbers in a pot and add cold water to cover; soak for at least 12 hours; then cook over low heat for 1 to 2 hours; add more water, as necessary, to make sure that the water always covers the cucumbers; remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then drain.
About 68-75 pieces per pound.