What Do Jellyfish Taste Like?

What is the Jellyfish Taste Like? 

Eating Jellyfish may sound strange for most of us. But, it is a prevalent practice in Japan and other countries in Southeast Asia, where various edible species of Jellyfish are abundant. In fact, the Japanese eat about 20 million tons of Jellyfish every year! They see it as an aphrodisiac and healthy source of food.

The taste of Jellyfish varies depending on its species and size. Smaller Jellyfish has a mild flavor, while larger ones can be quite bitter or even poisonous to humans. However, some people enjoy eating them because they believe their unique flavors make them more delicious than regular seafood. 

Read more below about what do Jellyfish taste like. 

Are Jellyfish Good to Eat

Are Jellyfish dangerous to eat? Well, the answer depends on which type you are talking about. Some types of Jellyfish contain toxins that could cause severe health problems if consumed by humans. Other varieties commonly found in Asian countries are edible but not particularly tasty. Still, others are safe to consume as long as proper precautions are taken before consuming any Jellyfish. 

What Does Raw Jellyfish Taste Like

Raw Jellyfish taste like nothing because there isn’t any flavor associated with it. If you eat raw Jellyfish, the only thing you will notice is how slimy it feels inside your stomach. You may feel some mild cramping, but it shouldn’t last long. However, consuming too much raw Jellyfish could cause severe gastrointestinal problems. So make sure you know what kind of Jellyfish you’re eating before chowing down on one. 

What Does Jellyfish Taste Like?

Jellyfish has a neutral taste – and will absorb the flavors of the herbs, spices, or dish that it is made with. It is mostly used for texture – giving a crunch to the dish you are serving. It is commonly mixed with sesame oil and red pepper flakes and often stir-fried.

JEllyfish prepare Japanese of Chinese Way - is used mainly for texture in the dish - it is quite flavourless itself
Jellyfish prepared the Japanese of Chinese Way – is used mainly for texture in the dish – it is quite flavorless itself

What is the Nutritional Value of Jellyfish

Jellyfish have enough nutritional value. These are the major nutrients of Jellyfish:

  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Choline
  • Manganese
  • Sodium

A single cup or 58 grams of cooked Jellyfish contains about 3.9 grams of protein, 1.32 mg of iron, 0.81 grams of fat, 3 milligrams of cholesterol, 24.5 mg of manganese, 0.081 mg of copper, 55.1 mg of choline, 5620 mg of sodium, and 21kcal calories. This means that eating just half a cup of Jellyfish would provide less than 4% of the daily recommended intake of proteins, zero percent of fats, and almost 7% of total calorie requirements.

What are the Benefits of Eating Jellyfish

Jellyfish have many health benefits. Here are some of them:

  • It helps prevent cancer.
  • The cells found in Jellyfish contain an enzyme called phospholipase A2, which prevents tumor growth by breaking down fatty acids present in membranes.
  • Phospholipases also help reduce inflammation and fight infections.
  • It helps lower blood pressure.
  • It promotes cognition due to its calcium-binding protein that works as a counteractive element in cognitive decline.
  • It maintains skin health because of its collagen content.

In Japan, where they consume large amounts of edible Jellyfish every year, cardiovascular diseases are rare. Some researchers believe that the reason behind this phenomenon is the presence of omega-3 fatty acids in these animals. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to improve circulation.

How to Cook Jellyfish

Cooking fresh Jellyfish is easy as pie. The most basic method in cooking is by boiling.

All you need to do is boil it for 10 minutes until its tentacles turn transparent. Then drain off all water from the pot and serve hot. If you want to add spices such as garlic, ginger, chili pepper, etc., then mix those ingredients into the boiling water first. It’s best served cold so that people don’t get sick after tasting it. 

In addition, Asians commonly make it into Jellyfish Salad. Here’s how to do it:

Jellyfish Salad Recipe

Servings: 5

Ingredients:

  • 9 ounces ready-to-eat shredded Jellyfish
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (to garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, ground (optional)

Directions:

1. Prepare the shredded or sliced Jellyfish by rinsing with fresh water and draining. Set aside. 

2. Soak the shredded Jellyfish in a large bowl with cold water. Soak it overnight for the best results. Or you can soak it for at least 5 hours and regularly change the cold water to help get rid of its saltness. 

3. Drain the water and pour boiling water into the Jellyfish until it softens and gives a chewy texture. Drain again and let it sit until it cools down.

4. In a large bowl, whisk the salt and let it sin for 15 minutes in the refrigerator. 

5. Remove from the fridge and add the sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and chili oil. Mix together and adjust the seasonings if needed. Set aside. 

6. Place a skillet over medium heat and toast the sesame seed until golden. Set aside and let it cool.

 7. Sprinkle the sesame seeds, green onion, and cilantro on top of the jellyfish salad. Serve immediately.

How to Eat Jellyfish

If you’re not sure whether your Jellyfish tastes good enough yet, here are some tips on eating them.

1. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before handling any kind of seafood. This will prevent bacteria from spreading around.

2. The next step is to rinse your mouth out with clean water afterward. Don’t forget to brush your teeth too!

3. Just remember to keep calm and carry on. You may find yourself getting stung when trying to eat one. That’s normal. 

4. When you bite into a piece of raw Jellyfish, try chewing slowly. Doing so helps reduce the chances of being stung.

5. After biting into a piece of cooked Jellyfish, chew slowly and carefully. Chewing quickly could cause you to choke.

6. Try using chopsticks instead of fingers while eating Jellyfish. Using chopsticks makes it easier to pick up pieces without touching other parts of the body.

7. Remember to wash your chopsticks afterward. Otherwise, they might be contaminated with bacteria which could spread through your food.

8. To avoid choking, always cut open the belly of the Jellyfish first. And never swallow uncooked jellyfish whole.

9. Never use your bare hand to handle fresh Jellyfish because this increases the risk of infection. Instead, wear gloves whenever possible.

10. Always cook Jellyfish properly. Boiling is the safest way to prepare it.

FAQs

Is Jellyfish good for vegans?

Yes, it is safe for vegetarians as well. It has no cholesterol and contains very little fat. However, there are still many people who don’t like consuming fish products due to their high content of mercury. Then you should consider buying frozen Jellyfish since it has been flash-frozen after harvesting. Frozen foods have less chance of containing harmful substances than those that were harvested live.

Is Jellyfish crunchy?

Jellyfish meat is actually quite hard to chew. But once it gets fried or boiled, it becomes softer and more tender. Also, it doesn’t taste bad even though it looks weirdly shaped.

What is the texture of Jellyfish?

The texture of Jellyfish depends on how long it was kept alive prior to cooking. Fresh ones tend to be firmer and harder to chew compared to older ones. They also contain higher levels of protein. On the contrary, old Jellyfish tend to become mushier and tasteless.

What Are the Different Jellyfish Types And Their Toxicity Levels

There are many different kinds of Jellyfish around the world, especially in Southeast Asia. Each one has its own distinct appearance, behavior, habitat, diet, and toxicity level. Here we will discuss three main categories:

1. Sea nettles

Toxicity level: Low

These small jellyfish look similar to stinging cells found in coral reefs. They live near coastal areas and feed mainly on plankton. Although these tiny creatures don’t sting when touched, they release venomous nematocysts into the water when disturbed. This makes them potentially harmful to swimmers. 

2. Lion’s Mane Jellyfish

Toxicity Level: High

This large Jellyfish looks somewhat like an octopus with tentacles hanging from its body. It lives in tropical waters and feeds mostly on fish eggs and larvae. Its venom contains neurotoxins that paralyze prey animals. These toxins also affect human nerves, so swimming after this Jellyfish should be avoided at all costs. 

3. Portuguese Man-of-War

Toxicity Level: Moderate

Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish is known for its beautiful purple coloration. It grows up to 10 meters in length and floats freely in the ocean. Unlike sea nettles, lion’s mane jellyfish, and box jellyfish, this creature doesn’t use nematocyst to inject poison into its victims. Instead, it uses two rows of spines called cerata located along each side of its bell to deliver painful electric shocks.

4. Moon Jellyfish

Toxicity Level: Very high

Moon jellyfish is another name used for moon jellies. These colorful Jellyfish grow up to 2 meters in diameter and float freely in warm seas. When threatened, moon jellyfish discharge thousands of microscopic capsules containing powerful polysaccharides that form a sticky gel. If ingested, this substance causes intense abdominal pain and vomiting within minutes. 

5. Box Jellyfish

Toxicity level: Extremely high

Box jellyfish are often confused with other Jellyfish such as fire jelly and sea wasp due to their resemblance to those creatures. But unlike most other Jellyfish, box jellyfish do not possess nematocysts to kill their prey. Instead, it releases a potent toxin through its skin that affects nerve endings causing excruciating pain. In addition, box jellyfish produce a strong electrical charge that disables electronic devices, including cell phones. 

6. Cannonball Jellyfish or Cabbagehead Jellyfish

Toxicity Level: High

Cannonball jellyfish can reach lengths of over 20 feet and weigh more than 100 pounds! They have no eyes or mouth and instead rely on touch sensors to detect food sources. Once detected, cannonballs shoot out hundreds of razor-sharp harpoon-like structures called cnidocytes that pierce their victim. After entering the flesh, the cnidocyte secretes digestive enzymes that dissolve tissue while releasing deadly toxins. 

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