You’ve heard of plant-based diets and locavorism, but how about invasivores? In the fight for sustainability, cooks are beginning to focus on eating invasive species.
The term was first used by conservation biologist and University of Vermont professor Joe Roman around 20 years ago. As a scientist, he knew how destructive non-native invasive species could be, costing billions in economic damage and posing a major risk for endangered species. Though he started a website with ideas on how to use invasive species in cooking, at first it didn’t get much attention from the dining public.
But now, thanks in part to chefs who’ve embraced the idea, “we’re on the very edge of when this idea takes off,” Roman recently told Popular Science.
Over the last few years, chefs such as José Andrés, who has committed to using the invasive (and delicious) lionfish at his restaurants, have brought the idea mainstream. Wild hogs, crayfish, and garlic mustard are among the other invasive species growing in popularity as ingredients.
Unfortunately, not every invasive species is edible or delicious. But creating new ways to prepare and enjoy the ones that are will be a potent tool to help balance the natural world.
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