Jellyfish chips: A snack with crunch

By LAUREN CHOO

Jellyfish are not the first thing that come to mind when hankering for a snack.

However, a group of scientists from the University of Southern Denmark have discovered a way to treat and turn jellyfish into a crispy treat.

Jellyfish are known for their beauty and their ability to scare beachgoers. But soon, they may be known as a healthy, sustainable snack.

The jellyfish population has seen a dramatic increase over the years due to overfishing of their predators and climate change, sea biodiversity protection organisation Slow Fish reported.

This overabundance has prompted jellyfish to be considered as a potential source of food.

Students give their take on this new gourmet treat. Video: Lauren Choo

Jellyfish is regarded as a gourmet delicacy in parts of Asia, however, most Westerners are unaccustomed with the idea of jellyfish as something edible.

The traditional jellyfish dish is prepared through a salting process, then preserved for up to a month to achieve a crunchy and pickle-like texture.

Mathias P. Clausen, a postdoctoral fellow from the University of Southern Denmark, said the chips could prove to be popular among the public.

“Using ethanol, we have created jellyfish chips that have a crispy texture and could be of potential gastronomic interest,” he wrote in a press release.

The new preparation technique only takes a few days, first by soaking the jellyfish in ethanol for two to three days, then evaporating the ethanol at room temperature, causing the jellyfish to shrink in size.

The results are a paper-like crisp that could potentially open new doors in Western cuisine.

When asked how they think the chip would taste like, student responses varied from “seafood-y” and salty, to “probably nothing”.

Dr Clausen noted that the chip had a subtle taste of the ocean, and that his team was still looking into studying the jellyfish further from a scientific approach.

“As this is pioneering work, I think using tools available to us to tackle the science of good eating can open people’s eyes for a completely new scientific field,” he wrote.