JellyFish Facts

Can You Eat Jellyfish?

Can You Eat Jellyfish? picture

Can You Eat Jellyfish?

The oceans of the world are full of fascinating marine creatures and one that stands out among them is the jellyfish. It is a free swimming, marine animal found in all the oceans of the world and has about 200 different varieties. It has a dome shaped body, devoid of bones and the bulk is made up of a gelatinous substance, which is 95% water. The creature does not have a brain and has very basic sensory functions through a network of nerves. The jellyfish is carnivorous and a predator. The tentacles dangling from the bell body are used to capture prey. The jellyfish is an active or a passive hunter depending on the species. The tentacles are covered with thousands of stinging cells that are capable of paralysing or killing the prey.

The potency of the venom differs in strength in the different species. The most deadly is a type of box jellyfish which can kill an adult human within minutes. The question is can a human safely eat a jellyfish; and the answer is yes. According to the marine biologists at the Western Washington University, the jellyfish sold in the market is processed by being soaked in salt and alum. This processing will inactivate the stinging cells of the jellyfish and make it safe to be consumed.

The next question that comes to mind is - how would the taste be? Well, people have different tastes all over the world and some might find the texture of the jellyfish revolting. But generally people who have eaten the jellyfish find it of a "rubber-band" consistency, with a taste that is quite bland. In countries like Japan, Korea and China, it is considered a delicacy and people prefer to eat a jellyfish. So we see that, if there is an aversion it is purely a matter of culture and acquired tastes. Although the taste of a jellyfish is bland it can convey the taste of its seasoning, very well. A jellyfish which is seasoned in the correct quantity of sesame seed oil, soy sauce, and hot chile peppers, will have the same flavour, as that of the sauce.

Apart from the safety and the taste, jellyfish is considered to be a healthy nutritious food. In fact it is now taken as a health food around the world, as it is less in calories and devoid of cholesterol. The calorie content of around 4 ounces of jellyfish will be just 30. There is also no presence of saturated fats or carbohydrates. The protein content in certain jellyfish like the cannonball jellyfish is also high and is rich in collagen, which is the basic body building substance.

Certain care should be taken while cooking and storing the jellyfish that is available in the market. You should always store the jellyfish in a refrigerator. The raw, and cooked jellyfish should always be kept separate to avoid bacterial cross-contamination. The knives, cutting surfaces and your hands should be thoroughly washed with soap after handling raw jellyfish. The best way to cook jellyfish is to first soak it overnight in the fridge and then blanch it, before seasoning.

Learn more about Jellyfish, different Jellyfish Species, general Jellyfish Information, Jellyfish Pets and Jellyfish Safety

Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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