Try not to cringe too much when I tell you that the snack of the future may well be crunching down on a nice savory, crispy serving of jellyfish chips.
I mean, really, who needs all the carbs from an order of fries when you can just as easily satiate yourself with this pickled marine delight rich in vitamin B12, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and selenium?
While the concept may inspire wretching in the West, the bell or main body section of jellyfish marinated in salt and potassium alum for weeks has been a staple in Asia for centuries. Now a team of Danish scientists has developed a process that reduces the preparation time to just a few days.
"Using ethanol, we have created jellyfish chips that have a crispy texture and could be of potential gastronomic interest," said Mathias P. Clausen, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Southern Denmark.
Clausen and his team presented their work this week at the annual meeting of the Biophysical Society in San Francisco.
It may seem hard to imagine a dish made from the oddly squishy marine animal showing up on American plates when so much tasty tuna, crab and tilapia is readily available, but the Danish researchers point out that overfishing and the effects of climate change are diminishing those traditional commercial fish stocks.
Swimming into that gap have been booming swarms of jellyfish, leading the fishing industry to look for ways to promote the graceful swimmers as a viable food source for the world's ever-growing population.
Jellyfish on the menu of McDonalds and other fast food chains may still be a ways off, but as food supplies and tastes change, it may not be that far-fetched to see "jelly chips" popping up at more food trucks and stores near you sometime soon.
Bring your appetite and a sense of culinary adventure.