Contrary to their name, jellyfish are not fish but invertebrates that you can find in oceans worldwide. They are bell-shaped drifters that can live in warm, cold, salty, brackish, deep, and shallow waters. Can you eat jellyfish though?
Jellyfish have a water-filled bell-like body and tentacles with stinging cells called nematocysts. They use their tentacles to sting and release venom to paralyze their attacker or prey. Most people know them as being dangerous.
The tentacles are removed when being processed for consumption because even a dead jellyfish can release the venom as its cell structure remains intact after death.
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Safety Concerns for Eating Jellyfish
You might be surprised to find out that some cultures do, in fact, eat jellyfish. There are over 2000 species of jellyfish, but only 11 are safe for human consumption.
They are a popular delicacy in Asian countries, especially in China and Japan, but they are also gaining momentum in other countries because of their taste and health benefits.
Different species of jellyfish differ in nutritional content, but they are all rich in protein, antioxidants, selenium, iron, omega – 3 and choline.
Regular jellyfish consumption reduces the chances of getting chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease due to high levels of polyphenols.
Generally, jellyfish has a salty, chewy, and mild flavor, meaning that most people eat it for the texture experience.
The taste can vary depending on whether it is fresh or dried; the dried one has a crunchy texture. However, the real difference comes with seasoning and dressing.
Eating Raw Jellyfish
Yes, people can eat raw jellyfish, but you should clean them rigorously because they contain bacterial pathogens that can cause food poisoning.
When buying from a seafood vendor, ensure it is freshly processed.
The jellyfish’s color can indicate its freshness. For example, white to light yellow indicates freshness, while darker yellow to brown indicates it is unsafe.