Unlike typical jellyfish the cannonball is a strong swimmer with a compact, solid body and few stinging tentacles. The Latin name for the cannonball, Stomolophus meleagris, is very descriptive of its lifestyle and means "many mouthed hunter." The cannonball feeds and swims by pumping water with a gelatinous bell over the sticky folds of its arms trapping larval stages of oysters, clams, and a variety of crustaceans. This sticky mucus is passed to numerous openings among the arms that lead to its mouth. It is abundant along Florida's northern Gulf of Mexico and off the northern Atlantic Coast, occurring in groups of millions.
The cannonball has great potential value as a food item in the world market. The most important fact about the protein in the cannonball jellyfish is the collagen it contains. Our bodies need collagen to build cell tissue, cartilage, teeth and bones. Scientific research continues on collagen and its medical potential. For over a thousand years, Asians have been eating jellyfish for medicinal reasons to treat high blood pressure, arthritis, bronchitis and other diseases. The cannonball jellyfish is an ideal diet food because it is low in fat, cholesterol and calories.
Jellyfish are most efficiently caught with surface trawls. Because they spoil quickly, processing must occur immediately after harvest. Jellyfish are mostly water and must be dehydrated to obtain products of desirable structure and texture. Processing involves a step-wise reduction of water by salting and draining many times. Once the process is complete, dried jellyfish can be safely stored for many weeks.
Processed jellyfish (sold only in processed form): Tender, crunchy and elastic texture.
HOW MUCH TO BUY
Generally jellyfish can be added to salads or prepared vegetables. Amount is determined by personal preference.
BUYING, STORAGE AND HANDLING
• Immediately after harvesting through a salting and dehydration method jellyfish is processed. It is sold in this dehydrated form.
• In the United States you can buy jellyfish in Asian specialty markets
• Store in the refrigerator.
• Soak the dehydrated jellyfish overnight in the refrigerator, drain and rinse. Cut the jellyfish into thin strips and quickly blanch. Marinate in seasoning of your choice, and then add to salads or vegetables.
• Keep raw and cooked seafood separate to prevent bacterial cross-contamination.
• After handling raw seafood thoroughly wash knives, cutting surfaces, sponges and your hands with hot soapy water.
• Always marinate seafood in the refrigerator.
• Discard marinade; it contains raw juices which may harbor bacteria.
• When marinade is needed for basting reserve a portion before adding raw seafood.
To prepare processed (dried) jellyfish, soak in water overnight in the refrigerator, drain and rinse. Cut into thin strips and quickly blanch in boiling water. Marinate in a mixture of seasonings and add to vegetables or salads.
Nutritional values for approximately 4 ounces (114 grams) of raw, edible portions
Calories From Fat 0
Total Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 120 mg
Total Carbohydrates 0 g
Protein 8 g
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services www.fl-seafood.com