Structural characterization of solvent-based food preparation of jellyfish

Mie T. Pedersen, Thomas A. Vilgis, Jonathan R. Brewer, Per L. Hansen, Mathias P. Clausen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Jellyfish as a potential sustainable food material has recently gained increasing interest. However, with their soft gel-like texture and easy spoilage, it remains challenging to achieve desirable edible structures from jellyfish. The culinary preparation of jellyfish is a complex process and extends beyond conventional cooking methods. In this study, we investigate the transformation of jellyfish into crispy-like structures by manipulating their microstructural and mechanical properties through a solvent-based preparation. The study focuses on the use of “poor solvents”, namely ethanol and acetone, and employs rheology measurements and quantitative microscopy techniques to analyze the effects of these solvents on the mechanical properties and microstructure of jellyfish. Our findings reveal that both ethanol and acetone lead to a significant increase in jellyfish hardness and deswelling. Notably, a micro-scale network is formed within the jellyfish matrix, and this network is then mechanically reinforced before a crispy-like texture can be obtained. Our study points to solvent polarity as also being a crucial factor for creating these effects and determines an upper polarity limit in the range of 12.2-12.9 MPa1/2 for added solvents, corresponding to approximately 60% of added ethanol or 70% of added acetone. Our study highlights that solvent-based preparation serves as a “reverse cooking” technique, where mechanical modification rather than traditional softening mechanisms are employed to stabilize and strengthen the microstructures and fibers of jellyfish. By elucidating the underlying mechanisms of solvent-induced stabilization, our findings may facilitate the development of innovative and sustainable culinary practices, paving the way for broader applications of jellyfish and other soft edible materials in the gastronomic landscape.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)495-510
ISSN1744-683X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21. Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Acetone/chemistry
  • Ethanol/chemistry
  • Solvents/chemistry

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