Snacking on Jellyfish Chips Could Curb Overpopulation
One scientist is urging us to include more of the invertebrates in our diet.
Imagine seafood and images of a juicy lobster dripping in butter, or a bucket of mussels garnished with a side of crispy fries, probably pop into your head. Jellyfish don’t enter the picture. Jellyfish are more often known to be feared for their stinging tentacles. We don’t typically think about eating them, and while swimming, we avoid them all costs. But a scientist at the University of Southern Denmark wants to change your perception of this abundant sea creature. Not only does she you want you to embrace the jellyfish, she wants you to snack on it.
Climate change, among all the harm it does, may be responsible for increasing jellyfish populations, which means that soon the ocean could be teeming with these squishy, transparent creatures. They get caught in fishing nets and clog the pipes in the nuclear power plants, and you probably wouldn’t want to run into a cloud of them next time you’re at the beach. So scientists need a way to control those populations before they get out of control.
NPR reports that that’s the mission of Mie Thorborg Pedersen, "gastrophysicist" at the University of Southern Denmark. She’s been experimenting with how to make the jellyfish part of our diet, and she's now touting what she calls an “embarrassingly simple” way to make “light and crispy jellyfish chips.”
In Asian cuisine, this dish is nothing new—it’s a snack that has been around for hundreds of years (NPR did a quick internet survey and found that it tastes like “salty rubber bands"). But introducing it to the Western palate may be more of a challenge. In the meantime, Pederson is perfecting her technique for creating the chips: Per NPR, all you have to do to make them is “submerge [the jellyfish] in 96 percent ethanol in a plastic box, stick it in the fridge for a few days, [and] place on a baking sheet at room temperature to let the alcohol evaporate.”
Pederson hasn’t yet measured the nutritional value of the chips, and for now, they’re just being used for her and her colleagues to experiment with. Of course, if salty rubber bands don't sound too appealing, perhaps Pedersen can get some flavor ideas from Lay's.