Posted by on January 16, 2005 at 16:27:27:
Students of a fisheries school have developed a kind of fruit jelly and tofu using powdered echizen jellyfish, a species that is a bane for fishermen but reportedly good for the skin.
The Obama Fisheries High School in Obama, Fukui Prefecture, has received inquiries from around the country about putting the fruit jelly and tofu into commercial production.
The students said they were encouraged by the response, saying that although it is hard work, they would be happy to transform the jellyfish into products they could sell.
The tofu has won the encouragement award at a national exhibition of products made by marine high schools.
Recently, huge numbers of echizen jellyfish have been swept up by fishermen's nets, poisoning catches. But the jellyfish contain plenty of collagen, a protein considered good for the skin.
Despite the difficulty of processing the jellyfish because of its watery consistency, last year's graduates developed a method of reducing the jellyfish to powdered form. After boiling the jellyfish for six hours, they filtered it and dried it at a temperature of minus 45 C.
This year's third-year students took over the tricky task of turning the powdered jellyfish into useful products.
Fruit jelly using canned peach and jellyfish was based on an idea of Shota Kawagoe, 18, who thought half a peach looked like the jellyfish's saucer-shaped body.
They heated and mixed powdered jellyfish, gelatin and canned syrup in water. Pieces of peach were added at 5 C, hardening the peach but leaving it with a smooth texture.
Masaya Nakata, 17, said using syrup alone would raise the cost, so they used just enough sugar to retain the taste.
"Our peach jelly can be sold for 50 yen, half the current market price," he said.
They also made jellyfish tofu, which was displayed last month at the national marine and oceanic high school students' research exhibition in Obama.
Adding collagen to a popular health food such as tofu won the students the encouragement award.
Food companies in Obama have already inquired about marketing the tofu.
Yasuyuki Kosaka, a teacher at the school who works with the students, said he wanted the tofu to be jointly marketed by the school and food companies to keep the students involved in the whole process.
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