In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Can you eat jellyfish?” We will also discuss the edible species of jellyfish, how we can safely eat jellyfish, and how they are prepared for consumption. Moreover, we will also talk about the nutrient composition of jellyfish.
Can you eat jellyfish?
Yes, you can eat jellyfish in many ways. A few species of jellyfish might be harmful for consumption, but others make a great source of food for humans.
At least 11 jellyfish species have been discovered as edible to humans. Rhopilema esculentum is the most common species of jellyfish that are used for consumption, especially in Southeastern Asia.
What are the edible species of jellyfish?
There are several edible jellyfish species if properly prepared. Rhizostomeae is the most popular species consumed by people in most parts of Southeast Asia. These jellyfish are often used in Chinese cuisine in a variety of recipes.
In Korea, Japan, and China, the most popular edible jellyfish are Rhopilema esculentum and Rhopilema hispidum. Furthermore, cannonball jellyfish and jelly blubber are also widely used in different varieties of recipes. Other edible jellyfish species include the following:
- Aurelia aurita
- Crambionella Orsini
- Chrysaora Pacifica
- Lobonemoides gracilis
- Nomura’s jellyfish
- Lobonema Orsini
How can we safely eat jellyfish?
A jellyfish should be consumed when they are still fresh out of the water as they have a very short shelf life. They need to be cleaned and processed soon after they are caught. If they are left unattended at room temperature, they can go bad very quickly. To avoid any foodborne diseases, it is important to use the jellyfish hygienically.
Freshly processed jellyfish is normally creamy white in appearance, gradually turning yellow as it ages. Yellow-colored jellyfish are considered safe and hygienic for consumption. However, if the jellyfish has turned brown, they are considered rotten and unsafe to consume.
Jellyfish is traditionally preserved by dehydrating the meat with an alum-salt combination. Alum is a brining component that serves as an antibacterial while preserving the jellyfish. It lowers the pH while keeping the texture firm.
Studies have revealed that jellyfish cleaned and processed using traditional procedures exhibited little to no symptoms of contamination from bacteria or other potentially harmful organisms. This shows how important it is to thoroughly clean the jellyfish before further processing or consumption.
How are jellyfish prepared for consumption?
Jellyfish are prepared by dehydrating them in a brining solution soon after they are caught and cleaned. Before using the jellyfish for any recipe, it is sometimes advised to desalt it and rehydrate it by soaking it in water overnight to enhance texture and minimize the salty taste from brining.
Many people think that jellyfish are soft based on their name but the texture of prepared jellyfish is unexpectedly gritty. However, their taste and texture differ depending on how they are prepared or cooked. The brined jellyfish can be slightly chewy and crunchy. It has a subtle flavor that absorbs the tastes of whatever it is cooked with without being overpowering.
You can prepare different varieties of dishes using the jellyfish. Shredded or thinly sliced jellyfish tossed with sugar, soy sauce, oil, and vinegar for a salad is one of the popular ways of eating jellyfish. It can also be sliced into noodles and boiled.
What is the nutrient composition of jellyfish?
Jellyfish are high on important nutrients and low on calories. Although the nutritional composition of jellyfish varies according to the species and their habitats generally 1 cup (58 grams) of jellyfish provides the following nutrient content:
- Calories: 21 kcal
- Selenium: 45% of the daily needs
- Choline: 10% of the daily needs
- Fat: 1 gram
- Protein: 3 gram
- Iron: 7% of the daily needs
Aside from these nutrients, the jellyfish also contains phosphate, calcium, and magnesium in small amounts. Although jellyfish have a very low-fat content, many research studies have suggested that polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) like omega-3 and omega-6, as well as polyphenols, are present in jellyfish.
Jellyfish are also thought to be a good source of collagens which play an important role in the structure of tissues. Likewise, several edible jellyfish species have a significant amount of naturally occurring polyphenols which provide you with strong antioxidant effects. Learn more about the health benefits of consuming jellyfish here.
In this brief guide, we have answered the query, “Can you eat jellyfish?” We have also discussed the edible species of jellyfish, how we can safely eat jellyfish, and how they are prepared for consumption. Moreover, we have also talked about the nutrient composition of jellyfish.