CLOSE

10 Delicious Recipes Made With Invasive Species

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

iStock

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)

iStock

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

iStock

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

iStock

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. 

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Courtesy of The National Aviary
arrow
Animals
Watch This Live Stream to See Two Rare Penguin Chicks Hatch From Their Eggs
Courtesy of The National Aviary
Courtesy of The National Aviary

Bringing an African penguin chick into the world is an involved process, with both penguin parents taking turns incubating the egg. Now, over a month since they were laid, two penguin eggs at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania are ready to hatch. As Gizmodo reports, the baby birds will make their grand debut live for the world to see on the zoo's website.

The live stream follows couple Sidney and Bette in their nest, waiting for their young to emerge. The first egg was laid November 7 and is expected to hatch between December 14 and 18. The second, laid November 11, should hatch between December 18 and 22.

"We are thrilled to give the public this inside view of the arrival of these rare chicks," National Aviary executive director Cheryl Tracy said in a statement. "This is an important opportunity to raise awareness of a critically endangered species that is in rapid decline in the wild, and to learn about the work that the National Aviary is doing to care for and propagate African penguins."

African penguins are endangered, with less than 25,000 pairs left in the wild today. The National Aviary, the only independent indoor nonprofit aviary in the U.S., works to conserve threatened populations and raise awareness of them with bird breeding programs and educational campaigns.

After Sidney and Bette's new chicks are born, they will care for them in the nest for their first three weeks of life. The two penguins are parenting pros at this point: The monogamous couple has already hatched and raised three sets of chicks together.

[h/t Gizmodo]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
holidays
Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
iStock
iStock

Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios