Top 5 Bizarre Alternative Meats
In this blog we take a look in to meat, the alternative meats available right now and the future of meat as we understand it. It sounds bizarre but the alternatives becoming available can raise an eyebrow or two.
Meat has kind of a bad rep right now – we’re getting more and more clued in as a society to how meat is actually pretty bad for the environment and also contributes to deforestation of the South American rainforest. The demand for meat gets bigger with the population, as well as when the population’s income gradually increases.
In order to possibly find a way to utilise less space to create more food than rearing animals for meat, scientists, chefs, industry and technology companies are all chipping to define the new protein frontier. We’re always on the lookout for great, informative, relevant content, so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to bring you some of the most bizarre, yet interesting, meat alternatives.
Ostrich, Kangaroo, Alligator
The fist on our list is the obvious – why not instead of farming cows, farm hardier, tougher, meatier, more opportunistic animals that could potentially eat other food waste as a recycling method. The waste disposal and protein density alone make much more sense than softer, fattier meats.
Kangaroo, alligator and ostrich farms exist all over the world – you might even know of one more closer to where you live, and apparently all three make a good substitute for our usual meat choices. In fact, alligator is known to be quite tasty, as well as being much more protein-dense than what we’re used to, as well as containing a lot less cholesterol.
This stuff defies all of our usual expectations of meat – Quorn is a meat substitute derived from fungus, deriving its name from the Leicestershire village of Quorn. But it’s not mere mushrooms – Quorn mycelia are grown in a large sterile fermentation vat as an almost solid fungal mass, rich in protein and also fairly free of a lot of the undesirable qualities of meat
The resulting fungal paste doesn’t seem very appetizing, but once it’s combined with egg whites and flavoring it is actually surprisingly good, especially as an ingredient in dishes heavy in seasoning or sauce, like stir fry or curries.
It can also be shaped into sausages, which surprisingly taste pretty much the same as any other cheap sausage. This is because meat is mostly tasteless anyway, a lot of the ‘flavor’ we derive from meat comes from the curing process as well as other seasoning and herbs we apply to it.
We are now entering the fringe of what western people would consider ‘acceptable things to eat’ – but to be honest, our tastes are fairly tame. Fried crickets are here and they are apparently delicious. The insect, like the prawn or shellfish, has a crunchy exoskeleton that definitely looks off-putting – however, there’s a tasty interior under that protein filled shell. Tasty enough for crickets to be a street food staple in Thailand.
If you are able to get over your initial fears, these crickets are actually available to buy online, ready to cook in fact. It’s a little pricey at the moment, but who knows, maybe in time us squeamish westerners will become bug eaters just like a lot of other cultures.
This one is the whole reason we wrote this article – just an utterly fantastic endeavor, and supremely icky. Chefs from Israel, interested in alternative protein to hopefully ease demand, decided to try to use insect larvae as the new alt-meat sensation – chiefly fruit fly maggots.
So anyway, if you’re interested, what you’ll need to do is get a bucket of these maggots, crush them into a fatty, nutritious, gross, gross paste and dry to a powder. Then mix this up with herbs, spices, salt, pepper, a bit of filler, maybe some little bits of onion and some garlic… make them into lumps, give them a fry, and you have meatballs.
Now, as we’ve already mentioned, meat is mostly tasteless, and little grubs, probably more so – doubtless these meatballs might taste ‘different’ but… still like meatballs. And, you can feed maggots on waste food too. It’s a win… win?
Lab Grown Tissue
The future of meat seems like it may either be in better agriculture, alternatives like… maggots, or through the limitless application of science. It’s always been a fantasy that meat can be ‘grown’ in a laboratory, without the need for intensive farming. A popular theory, but how is it doing right now?
Well, as per usual it’s ‘still in development’ – but what we can tell you is beef flesh grown in a lab is real, it’s been done, so has milk, and now the billionaire elite of silicon valley have set their sights on it. The BBC reported increased interest in the area as recently as mid-2017, so the future seems to be bright – Read more about it here.