Growing up by the Jersey shore, a jellyfish sighting meant one thing: Get as far away as fast as you can. The only thing scarier than the idea of getting stung by a jellyfish was having your big toe latched onto by a crab. (It's never happened to anyone outside of a cartoon, as far as I know, but it was a real fear at the time.)
If someone had told me then that eating jellyfish would be a thing, I'd have told them they were crazy. Jellyfish are poisonous! They have tentacles with thousands of microscopic stingers, and when they make contact with the skin, each stinger injects venom into the body. Why would anyone want to eat that?
Yet in Asia, jellyfish are a delicacy. The rest of the world hasn't found them that appetizing, but that could be changing. The world needs to reduce its consumption of conventional meat. At the same time, the population of jellyfish is booming thanks to climate change. Why not turn those two problems into a single solution — eating the squishy sea creatures in the form of crispy chips — as Futurism suggests?
Jellyfish chips are supposed to be "an acceptable alternative to potato chips taste-wise" but better for you. They're full of vitamin B12, magnesium and iron, and they're also low in calories.
Can't imagine putting jellyfish in your mouth, even if it could pass for a potato chip? Take a few minutes and think about the foods that we accept — or are learning to accept — that are now easily found on store shelves. Many of these foods have been around for a long time in other countries, just like jellyfish in Asia, but it simply took some time for American palates to accept them.
If you look in a jar of kombucha as its fermenting, you'll see something that looks a lot like a jellyfish. The beverage's symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, commonly referred to as a scoby, is alive and slimy. It wasn't too long ago that you'd reject a drink that had a living, slimy blob floating in it. Now, that drink is available in grocery stores and mini-marts.
Seaweed is what floats alongside of jellyfish in the ocean, brushing your leg and momentarily making you think you may have just come in contact with a jellyfish. It's fish food, not people food, right? Wrong. Seaweed makes a delicious salad that's super-low in calories (less than 20 per cup) and is chock full of vitamins and minerals. Dried seaweed also makes a crispy snack, and I imagine if jellyfish chips become an accepted thing, they'll be located next to the seaweed chips on the grocer's shelf.
We may still be a bit away from putting whole crickets or other bugs in our mouths to get our daily allowance of protein, but ground up crickets in the form of flour or powder are now acceptable. They're being used in crackers, cookies, chips and even fast-food milkshakes.
Milk that isn't milk
There are many alternative milks on the market now, but I remember when there were only three types of milk: plain, chocolate and the abomination that was strawberry milk. All of them came from a cow. Now grocery store shelves are full of milk substitutes made from nuts like almonds or cashews, soy, coconut and even peas.
Cauliflower mashed 'potatoes'
Cauliflower is now often found in the form of faux mashed potatoes. Sometimes, it's plain cauliflower mash and sometimes the vegetable gets added to traditional mashed potatoes to add some additional vitamins and minerals. Cauliflower also now gets chopped and subbed for rice in dishes. Turning cauliflower into foods that aren't cauliflower-y is so popular right now that even Oprah is getting into it.
Who would have thought we'd be handing dehydrated lettuce-looking leaves to children, and they'd think it was just as normal as handing them tortilla chips? Kale chips were barely part of anyone's vocabulary until about a decade ago. Now they're a common snack that can be customized with toppings like cheese, wasabi or barbecue sauce.
Now ... think about jellyfish chips. It's just one more new thing to try.