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10 Delicious Recipes Made With Invasive Species

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Wanna help the environment? Grab some plates. In this globalized era, invasive organisms have become a threat that demands the attention of every country on earth. Luckily, many transplanted species just happen to make for good eating—so, in honor of National Invasive Species Awareness Week, we’ve gathered 11 awesome recipes that will help you bite back and dazzle your dinner guests in one eco-friendly stroke.

1. Lionfish Nachos

These predators definitely fall into the “pretty-but-deadly” category. Venomous, fast-breeding lionfish are currently wreaking havoc on the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. But fear not: concerned citizens can start reading The Lionfish Cookbook: The Caribbean’s New Delicacy, which features 45 dishes—including an excellent nacho appetizer.

2. Kudzu Quiche

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Reviled as “the vine that ate the South,” kudzu has been smothering Uncle Sam’s shrubs and devouring Dixie since it was championed as an anti-erosion wonder plant during the early 20th century. Southerners can score succulent vengeance via yummy kudzu quiche. Unfortunately, New Yorkers may soon join them, since the plant is steadily creeping northwards.

3. Smothered River Rat (Cajun Style)

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Louisiana’s bayous—and menus—have long been infiltrated by South American river rats (or “nutrias”). Evidently, they taste like rabbit. Pass the gumbo!

4. Steamed Snakehead

“You can invade my stomach anytime!” said one Annapolis restaurant patron after tasting his first snakehead entrée. In 2002, Maryland’s government was so mortified by the prospect of these scary-looking fish getting a local foothold that it resorted to poisoning an infested pond! Such a pity: A cook-off would have been much cheaper. You can find a number of recipes for how to cook the fish—including a soup with sweet corn—here.

5. Apple and Knotweed Pie

Looking for a guilt-free pie? Of course you are. By adding the Japanese knotweed as an extra ingredient in your apple pie, you can jazz up the flavor and take comfort in knowing that you’re using America’s most patriotic dessert to help take down one of her toughest invasive species.

6. Cane Toad Stir Fry

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Today, these notorious amphibians are eating their way through Florida, Hawaii, Australia, New Guinea, Fiji, the Philippines, and the Caribbean. But that could all change when word gets out that their scrumptious legs are world-class stir fry ingredients.

7. Silverberry Spicebush Bread

Exotic yet familiar, the crimson berries of this plant, native to China, Korea, and Japan, can be mashed up and incorporated into a sweet, delectable bread.

8. Wild Boar Bacon

Native to Eurasia, wild boars now terrorize 39 states and cause $400 million worth of annual damages in Texas alone, arguably making them America’s most destructive foreign organism. On a positive note, at least you can generate gamey bacon from these dangerous swine. 

9. Garlic Mustard Pesto

With a name like “garlic mustard,” it has to be good! An unwelcome sight in the Midwest and elsewhere, these European plants can sure punch up pasta nights.

10. Green Iguana Ragout

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Green iguanas might be popular in the pet trade, but as voracious and indiscriminate herbivores, they’re out-competing several of Florida’s vegetarian insects. So what do the five-foot lizards taste like? Chicken, of course. 

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Animals
25 Shelter Dogs Who Made It Big
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If you’ve been thinking of adding a four-legged friend to your brood and are deciding whether a shelter dog is right for you, consider this: Some of history’s most amazing pooches—from four-legged movie stars to heroic rescue dogs—were found in animal shelters. In honor of Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, here are 25 shelter dogs who made it big.

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This High-Tech Material Can Change Shape Like an Octopus
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Octopuses can do some pretty amazing things with their skin, like “see” light, resist the pull of their own sticky suction cups, and blend in seamlessly with their surroundings. That last part now has the U.S. Army interested, as Co.Design reports. The military branch’s research office has funded the development a new type of morphing material that works like an octopus’s dynamic skin.

The skin of an octopus is covered in small, muscular bumps called papillae that allow them to change textures in a fraction of a second. Using this mechanism, octopuses can mimic coral, rocks, and even other animals. The new government-funded research—conducted by scientists at Cornell University—produced a device that works using a similar principle.

“Technologies that use stretchable materials are increasingly important, yet we are unable to control how they stretch with much more sophistication than inflating balloons,” the scientists write in their study, recently published in the journal Science. “Nature, however, demonstrates remarkable control of stretchable surfaces.”

The membrane of the stretchy, silicone material lays flat most of the time, but when it’s inflated with air, it can morph to form almost any 3D shape. So far, the technology has been used to imitate rocks and plants.

You can see the synthetic skin transform from a two-dimensional pad to 3D models of objects in the video below:

It’s easy to see how this feature could be used in military gear. A soldier’s suit made from material like this could theoretically provide custom camouflage for any environment in an instant. Like a lot of military technology, it could also be useful in civilian life down the road. Co.Design writer Jesus Diaz brings up examples like buttons that appear on a car's dashboard only when you need them, or a mixing bowl that rises from the surface of the kitchen counter while you're cooking.

Even if we can mimic the camouflage capabilities of cephalopods, though, other impressive superpowers, like controlling thousands of powerful suction cups or squeezing through spaces the size of a cherry tomato, are still the sole domain of the octopus. For now.

[h/t Co.Design]

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