Poisonous jellyfish = party food
She is big, sticky and has twelve long, poisonous tentacles. Norwegian scientists are working to ensure that you will soon be able to get giant jellyfish periphylla periphylla served on your salad at a Chinese restaurant. Does that make your mouth water?
In China, people have eaten jellyfish for many years, and jellyfish are often the most expensive choice on the menu. The Chinese believe that jellyfish meat produces smooth skin and is good for the blood. The meat is also full of protein and minerals.
You have no doubt seen ordinary jellyfish and stinging jellyfish when you've gone swimming or fishing. If you look further down in the briny deep, you may see another similar creature: Medusa or periphylla periphylla, a helmet jellyfish with twelve tentacles.
These large jellyfish can't stand the light, so by day they actually stay many hundreds of metres deep down in the water. When night falls, however, they dare to rise almost to the surface, and they come by the dozen, because the giant jellyfish have invaded Norwegian fjords.
Poison paralyses the prey
Jellyfish have tentacles containing poison that paralyses their prey. They can actually paralyse fish weighing up to five kilos. The tentacles are the first thing you remove when transforming jellyfish into restaurant food. You wash them thoroughly, and then add a substance called alun, which counteracts the poison. Finally, you place the jellyfish in salt to draw out the water. And we are not talking about a little water - no less than 95 per cent of a jellyfish body is made up of water!
When you brush away the salt, you can cut the jellyfish into pieces and wrap it. Now the jellyfish is ready for human consumption. You don't actually need to cook or roast the Medusa, you can just shred it and sprinkle it on your salad.
Norwegian research in the Chinese spirit
In the Chinese spirit, the company Su San on Frøya and SINTEF researcher Kesheng Wang have teamed up to turn the giant jellyfish into Norwegian party food. The challenge is to find good ways to catch Medusas without catching huge volumes of fish in the process.
Published in 'Nysgjerrigper' no. 4/08
Translated by Linda Sivesind