Jellyfish are beautiful creatures that can be found in oceans across the globe. They differ in size, colour, shape, form and species. Some are poisonous. Some sting. Some are completely harmless.
But have you ever thought about eating jellyfish? What does it taste like and can you eat jellyfish safely?
Yes, you can eat some jellyfish. You should only buy jellyfish from a reputable outlet and not try and catch your own because many types of jellyfish are toxic to humans.
The answer to the question isn’t a quick yes or no answer. It is actually a great deal more complicated than this. Some jellyfish can be eaten and are considered a delicacy in many countries.
However, some other jellyfish are toxic to humans and are best avoided. This is why it’s best to not try and catch your own jellyfish to eat unless you know exactly what you are doing and which types of jellyfish are safe to eat.
You can, however, buy jellyfish from your local fishmonger or specialist food store.
What Does Jellyfish Taste Like?
There are approximately 11 species of jellyfish that are considered safe for humans to eat which isn’t many when you consider that there are over 200 species of jellyfish in total. This is why you should take extra care when eating jellyfish.
When it does come to eating it, jellyfish has an odd taste and texture that can be a bit of an acquired taste – hence delicacy!
The first thing you are likely to notice is the texture. It is a little slimy in texture and can be chewy or even rubbery to eat. Occasionally you might even notice a little crunch to it.
The next thing you will notice is just how salty the jellyfish tastes. This is because jellyfish has to be processed and preserved as soon as it is caught. It spoils very quickly and can become unsafe to eat after only a short amount of time. Jellyfish tends to be preserved in brine which gives it a salty taste.
How to Eat Jellyfish
If you’re ready to take the plunge and give jellyfish a go, then below are a few ways you can enjoy it. Make sure you take a special note of the third and final option on the list:
Jellyfish can be pulled apart quite easily and served as is with a quick seasoning of soy sauce. Fry it in oil until somewhat tend then pull it apart much like you would with pulled pork.
If you want to liven up your noodles or rice then chop up jellyfish and fry it with the other ingredient. Sprinkle it into your noodles, rice or even vegetables. The jellyfish adds a salty flavour that peps up any side dish.
At a Restaurant
Our final tip is to let someone else cook it for you (and no, this isn’t cheating)!
It isn’t easy to find and cook jellyfish well so the first time you eat it you may want to have it cooked by a professional who has experience in getting right. If you find you like it you can get some yourself and give it a try at home.
Benefits of Eating Jellyfish
Jellyfish is an interesting type of food to try and as long as you consume non-toxic species and it has been thoroughly cleaned and processed immediately after being caught then it does have some potential health benefits.
It is considered a good source of collagen which is important to maintain healthy bones and skin. It is also high in choline which is a common nutrient people who eat a highly processed westernised diet are deficient in. This has been linked to brain function and maintaining a healthy nervous system.
Other benefits you may get from eating jellyfish are that it is low in calories and contains calcium, selenium and magnesium
Risks of Eating Jellyfish
There are some risks involved in eating jellyfish. The biggest risk is that you are not eating a jellyfish that is considered safe for human consumption. You also need to worry about correctly cleaning and processing the jellyfish to remove any toxins.
It is also important that the jellyfish is preserved almost immediately after being caught because they start to spoil immediately and like other types of seafood can make you very sick.
Depending on the process used to clean and preserve the jellyfish, you may also find that some contain large levels of aluminium. Having too much of in your diet has been linked to diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Should You Eat Jellyfish?
As long as you are sure that your jellyfish has been caught in a reputable manner by those who know which jellyfish can be eaten and those which should be avoided.
And if you are sure that they have been correctly cleaned and processed then you should be fine to try and try jellyfish. But it’s understandable why you may want to pass…
If you are unsure then you should avoid it and we wouldn’t recommend that you ever try and catch and cook your own jellyfish. There is just too much that can go wrong and the jellyfish could be unsafe to eat.
If you’ve got other specific questions about eating jellyfish then these might help:
Yes, cannonball jelly is one of the 11 species of jellyfish that is safe for human consumption. But you will need to ensure it has also been processed properly otherwise it can still be harmful.
There are a number of kinds of jellyfish that are edible and safe for consumption including Rhopilema Esculentum, Rhopilema Hispidum and Chrysaora Pacifica.
Some jellyfish are poisonous to eat, unfortunately. There are actually significantly more jellyfish that can cause harm than not. If you don’t know what you’re doing or are unaware of the provenance of the jellyfish then it’s worth avoiding.