Monday, December 18

Eat Away Invasive Species And Help Save The Planet

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The phrase coined by the New Orleans chef Poppy Tooker has never been more true than it is today. “Eat it to save it” – if the industry knows they can sell it, they’ll be sure to breed it. Not a particularly positive point to bring up about the food industry, but there are plenty of other environmentally conscious decisions chefs are making that really can make a difference to the world.

More and more chefs are encouraging the use of invasive species on their menus, to encourage their customers to eat certain species that are not only in abundance, but also pose a potential threat to local and national ecosystems.

Time and time again we have seen species introduced accidentally or on purpose to ecosystems that aren’t designed to sustain them. Without constant attention and attempts to cull or remove these problem species, local species can be severely damaged or even wiped out entirely.

In the Midwest chefs and activists are cooking with Asian carp, an invasive species of fish that is reportedly running the ecosystem of the Mississippi River and therefore threatening the commercial fishing industry of these lakes.

Simultaneously, Asian shore crabs are also being targeted in the cooking world as a means to decrease their numbers. This species have the potential to affect populations of native species such as fish and shellfish, consequently disrupting the food web altogether. Besides their unattractive appearance, the Asian crab is said to taste great ‘flash-fried with a bit of lemon dill sauce’ according to Dave Thier at AOL News.

Over on the land here in the UK however, a similar pattern seems to be developing with the invasive weed species. Japanese knotweed for example is currently listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the world’s 100 worst invasive species and with its strong root system and growth; it’s also one of the hardest to rid of.

Along with the various species of invasive sea animals, knotweed is also being used for cooking as a means to decrease its numbers. Often associated with being an annoying garden weed; Japanese knotweed is missed for its sensational sweet and delicious tang. The plants ability to offer versatile cooking recipes has lead to a rise in Chefs placing the weed on the menu and encouraging home cooking guidelines such as a knotweed crumble or a delicious winter soup.

After all, the more of Japanese knotweed you eat, the less of it there is to do its damage. However as cultural norms are hard to shift, getting the public to experiment with different foods and experience unique tastes is proving rather difficult. As Chefs seek to push boundaries and direct consumption into a more sustainable direction, it is not yet known whether their actions will or can make a significant difference.

The phrase coined by the New Orleans chef Poppy Tooker has never been more true than it is today. “Eat it to save it” – if the industry knows they can sell it, they’ll be sure to breed it. Not a particularly positive point to bring up about the food industry, but there are plenty of other environmentally conscious decisions chefs are making that really can make a difference to the world.

More and more chefs are encouraging the use of invasive species on their menus, to encourage their customers to eat certain species that are not only in abundance, but also pose a potential threat to local and national ecosystems.

Time and time again we have seen species introduced accidentally or on purpose to ecosystems that aren’t designed to sustain them. Without constant attention and attempts to cull or remove these problem species, local species can be severely damaged or even wiped out entirely.

In the Midwest chefs and activists are cooking with Asian carp, an invasive species of fish that is reportedly running the ecosystem of the Mississippi River and therefore threatening the commercial fishing industry of these lakes.

Simultaneously, Asian shore crabs are also being targeted in the cooking world as a means to decrease their numbers. This species have the potential to affect populations of native species such as fish and shellfish, consequently disrupting the food web altogether. Besides their unattractive appearance, the Asian crab is said to taste great ‘flash-fried with a bit of lemon dill sauce’ according to Dave Thier at AOL News.

Over on the land here in the UK however, a similar pattern seems to be developing with the invasive weed species. Japanese knotweed for example is currently listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the world’s 100 worst invasive species and with its strong root system and growth; it’s also one of the hardest to rid of.

Along with the various species of invasive sea animals, knotweed is also being used for cooking as a means to decrease its numbers. Often associated with being an annoying garden weed; Japanese knotweed is missed for its sensational sweet and delicious tang. The plants ability to offer versatile cooking recipes has lead to a rise in Chefs placing the weed on the menu and encouraging home cooking guidelines such as a knotweed crumble or a delicious winter soup.

After all, the more of Japanese knotweed you eat, the less of it there is to do its damage. However as cultural norms are hard to shift, getting the public to experiment with different foods and experience unique tastes is proving rather difficult. As Chefs seek to push boundaries and direct consumption into a more sustainable direction, it is not yet known whether their actions will or can make a significant difference.

The author specialises in Japanese Knotweed Removal and Japanese Knotweed Eradication in the UK. A great way for Japanese Knotweed Control

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