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**Must be for next day delivery; not available for shipment to Hawaii** Sea urchins are spiny, bottom feeding echinoderms that are found around the world. California red sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus franciscanus) dwell in kelp beds near the coastline and range in color from red to dark blackish purple. The can reach up to six inches in diameter and average about one pound each. Inside every sea urchin is the prize: bright orange to pale yellow, “tongues” of uni. Commonly referred to as roe, these soft golden tongues are actually reproductive organs. Uni has long been considered a delicacy in Japan and sushi bars worldwide because of its sweet flavor and succulent texture that melts in your mouth. In some cultures, it is considered an aphrodisiac! When we ship live California sea urchin, it is indeed alive. Urchins are cold packed with gel ice and mailed with the last shipments of the day to make sure they are strong enough for the journey. Sometimes a live urchin perishes during transit. However, this in no way means the urchin is bad. We guarantee it is still completely fresh and perfectly safe to consume. Once you get the hang of it, cracking, cleaning and serving sea urchin is quite fun! To view a video tutorial: When you crack open a whole, live California sea urchin you will find any combination of the following grades. All can be eaten raw. Uni Grades Gold (A-Grade): Bright gold, yellow or orange color. Creamy yet firm texture. Fresh ocean scent and ocean-sweet taste. Uni pieces are large and complete intact. This is exceptionally high-grade uni for use in top-quality sushi. Premium (B-Grade): Gold, yellow or orange color but less brilliant than A-Grade. Creamy yet firm texture. Uni pieces are smaller but primarily intact. Fresh ocean scent and ocean-sweet taste. Used for sushi and other dishes as the featured item. Vana (C-Grade): Dark yellow or orange or even tending toward brown in color. Melty texture and slightly nutty flavor. Uni sections may be intact but are mostly broken pieces. Typically shipped frozen. Due to its ultra-soft consistency, vana is typically used in dishes where it is mixed with other ingredients, such as soups and sauces.