Found in oceans all around the globe, jellyfish, although beautiful in appearance, are fish that are widely avoided due to their stinging ability.
They are bell-shaped with gelatinous bodies, and have long tentacles that contain stinging cells. These shoot out quickly, and they inject venom into their prey.
Interestingly, they are made up of 98% water and have no heart, lungs, brain, or blood!
They survive through their ability to blend in with the water, and have a nervous system containing receptors that allow them to detect light, vibrations, and chemicals in the sea.
This is what helps them navigate.
Their stinging abilities may lead you to believe that they can’t be eaten as food, but this is far from the case. In Southeast Asia, jellyfish is often eaten due to a number of benefits.
There are, however, a few species of jellyfish that shouldn’t be eaten as they can be toxic to humans, but that still leaves plenty that are completely safe to eat!
This article will be discussing how jellyfish are usually eaten, what they taste and feel like, and the potential benefits of consuming them.
Consumption And Preparation
As mentioned earlier, some jellyfish can’t be eaten due to their toxicity, but there are still 11 species that are perfectly edible!
However, jellyfish can spoil very quickly if they’re left at room temperature for too long, so they need to cleaned and prepared right after being caught.
They are normally preserved with an alum-salt mixture, which is used as an antiseptic that reduces the PH, but still helps the meat maintain its firmness. This also dehydrates it.
If jellyfish are cleaned and prepared properly, then they have little to no bacteria or dangerous pathogens within them, making them safe to eat.
However, this does mean that you should only eat jellyfish if you know they have been prepared accordingly.
The color of the fish is also very important. Healthy and fresh jellyfish are creamy white in color, but it slowly goes more yellow as it ages.
Yellow jellyfish are still safe to eat, but if you notice they’ve turned more brown in color, then they are unsafe and should be disposed of.
Taste And Texture
Jellyfish are normally cleaned and processed by dehydrating them in a brining solution, as mentioned above.
They are then usually desalted and rehydrated. This is done by soaking them in water overnight. This brings back that salty taste that isn’t overpowering, and improves their texture.
While you may have thought that these fish are relatively slimy, once cooked they have a surprisingly crunchy texture. However, if prepared in certain other ways, they may be more on the chewy side.
The taste of jellyfish is quite delicate, and takes on the taste of whatever you cook it with, which is what makes it so popular, as you can experiment with a variety of different tastes.
However, it is important to desalt it before cooking, as it can have a very salty taste if this is not done.
Jellyfish can be eaten in many different ways. They can be shredded, or thinly sliced along with some sugar, soy sauce and oil.
They can be sliced and tossed in salads, or cut into noodles and served with vegetables and other forms of protein.
As we touched on briefly earlier, there are some benefits to eating jellyfish, which is why it is such a popular cuisine in some parts of Asia.
Some of these benefits include helping with ulcers, digestive problems, arthritis, and many more.
Aside from this, jellyfish are very low in calories but still contain some important nutrients.
However, it is important to note that these benefits are not supported by research, they are claims.
Jellyfish Contain Selenium
Selenium is an important mineral that provides your body with antioxidants that protect your cells.
Selenium has also been shown to minimize the risk of numerous diseases and illnesses, such as certain cancers and Alzheimer’s disease.
It’s also a very important mineral for thyroid function, and for metabolism.
Although more research is needed, jellyfish are known for having a high amount of selenium.
Jellyfish Contain Choline
Choline is an essential nutrient that’s very important for the body. It has been linked to the improvement of brain function such as improved memory and processing, and can sometimes lessen the symptoms of anxiety.
It is also known for supporting the nervous system, and supporting fat transport and metabolism.
Jellyfish are considered to have a good amount of this nutrient in them.
Jellyfish Contain Collagen
While there is limited research on the benefits that jellyfish provide, when it comes to their collagen content, more research has been done.
Collagen is a protein known for its benefits for hair, skin, and bones. Those who consume collagen have noted an improvement in their skin elasticity, and any joint pain they were experiencing.
A study using ribbon jellyfish discovered that the collagen in them had blood-pressure-lowering, and antioxidant effects.
Furthermore, another study using rats found that consuming collagen from jellyfish daily, reduced blood pressure levels.
While the above results are promising, this still needs to be tested on humans.
Aluminum Health Risks
As mentioned earlier, jellyfish are preserved using alum. This is a chemical compact used to preserve foods.
There have been some concerns over consuming foods that contain this compound, as some state that frequent consumption could contribute to certain diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease.
However, more research needs to be done, as it is unclear how much alum needs to be consumed in order for negative side effects to begin.
In summary, certain species of jellyfish are safe for consumption, and can even provide you with some essential nutrients such as selenium, choline, and collagen!
However, it is crucial that you only consume jellyfish that has been cleaned and prepared appropriately. One sign to look out for is the color.
If the jellyfish you’re about to consume has turned a certain brown color, then it is not safe to eat.
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