A traditional food in China and in others South East countries, jellyfish are not yet authorized in Italy and in the whole Europe. Yet, they are source of protein, low in calories and fats, contain precious elements such as amino acids, magnesium and potassium, and have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. And they can also be very tasty, according to the recipes of the international chefs involved in the book European Jellyfish Cookbook – New perspectives on marine food resources.
“This booklet is the outcome of scientific results, analyses and studies on some Mediterranean jellyfish species carried out at the Institute of Sciences of Food Production of the Italian National Research Council of Italy (Cnr-Ispa, Unit of Lecce), combined with the spontaneous, creative and passionate interest of some Italian and international professional chefs to experiment jellyfish as a possible new food resource”, says researcher Antonella Leone (Cnr-Ispa).
“Based on scientific results, the new methodologies to process jellyfish for food and food ingredients, and the remarkable nutraceutical properties of some jellyfish components, could make real the possibility of their food use, even in Europe. The creative spirit of professionals of the gastronomic art, supported by scientific knowledge we are developing, will make possible to consider a wider scenario of natural resources and to start a new era of environmentally-friendly food systems”.
Funded within the Horizon 2020 Programme the “GoJelly” project gathers together 16 partners from all over Europe working together to create a new paradigm shift transforming an existing marine debris problem into new solutions in which jellyfish could also serve as an anti-microplastic filter and raw material for a variety of biotechnology as well as cosmetic products.
“With a world population that grows at exponential rate – (we will be just under 10 billion in 2050- and with a much slower food production, that grows only thanks to continuous technological innovations and the use of mainly non-renewable energy sources, the only way out is to find different, new, sustainable food resources”, adds Leone. “The biological cycle of jellyfish and their growing diffusion and abundance in coastal seas – also due to the ongoing global warming – allows us to think of these fascinating creatures as a possible new food source. When we hear about “new foods”, the feeling is that our eating habits will soon change: by scrolling this non-traditional recipe book, we suddenly become aware that moment is now” says Stefano Piraino from the University of Salento.