How to eat a jellyfish


They have been described as 'crunchy-chewy', like 'eating gristle' and apparently have no flavour, yet jellyfish are being touted as a possible saviour of overzealous fishermen our future piscine diets and ultimately the fate of our planet.


Apparently, scientists are insisting that we change our diets to reduce the problem of over-fishing, over-farming and over-breeding. Except of course that don't say it like this. Instead they use words like 'unsustainable use of oceanic resources' and 'land use' and 'population growth'.

And of course we should listen, because scientists must know what they are talking about.


I personally would rather try and work it out myself. I can, for example, deduce that some of the food I eat comes often from a ridiculously distant country, that some types of fish are to be avoided and that adding billions of people to the planet is not necessarily a brilliant idea. Anyone who cares half a jot about the world would think the same, so who exactly are the scientists trying to convince?


But I am afraid that in persuading me to eat jellyfish they are wasting their time. Having said that, there seems to be an increasing number of people who love the stuff and even recipes like this this one: Mexican Style Jellyfish Salad with Mini Poppadoms.

And of course, I can see the sense in using what is believed to be an unrelenting source of food - even if it looks like a boiled plastic wrapper with a similar texture. Yet it would be a mistake to believe that the planet can be saved by eating the ocean equivalent of an inflated balloon.


Or algae, which is another amazing food that scientists have added to out metaphorical plate.


One of the reasons why jellyfish are so numerous is actually due to human depredation of the ocean and the killing-off of their main predator, the sea-turtle, as well as the potential effects of ocean warming. So, effectively, we are being asked to eat our way through the problem.

It even has its' own logo : 'If you can beat them, eat them!' (SBS.com) a saying I am sure may have originated in some cannibalistic society.


Although eating jellyfish may have originated in some countries that already dine on much that moves (and a great deal that doesn't) the idea turns up every couple of years in the UK too, often cited in articles entitled 'WHY WE MUST ALL EAT MORE JELLYFISH' or 'JELLYFISH - SAVIOURS OF THE WORLD?'

Some commentators have even suggested it could replace cod and haddock. I really think most people would notice though. But don't worry if you have an aversion to consuming what is essentially 90% water in a little gristle or something that normally grows on rocks because there is a plethora of other goodies out there that scientists regularly insist we eat.

Insects are quite high on the menu right now and the practice even has a name: Entomophagy. Yes. It sounds creepy.


Alternative foods are, in order of strangeness, Tuna eyeballs, Fertilized duck eggs, Tarantula (see Roughguides.com for much more weirdness) and, of course, Banana peel, my personal aversion. But assuming for a moment that you are actually up to being served, say Fried Lizard legs on a bed of moth pupae, and then go on to actually survive the experience, can you honestly say you have saved the planet?


I won't say we don't need to think of some new ideas, it's just that the new ideas we do come up with have got to avoid squishy sea creatures and arachnids for supper...

Thank you!