Can you eat giant squid?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat giant squid?”. We will also elaborate on the nutritional content of giant squid, the different recipes in which giant squids are used, and some advantages and disadvantages of giant squid.

Can you eat giant squid?

No, you can’t eat giant squid. The reason behind this is that giant squids are composed of high amounts of ammonia, which can lead to toxicity and can be harmful to health.

Maintaining vertical position in the water column is a major energetic expense. The most prevalent method of attaining neutral buoyancy in cephalopods is the exchange of sodium for ammonium ions creating low-density fluids that impart lift. While squids of the family Cranchiidae store ammonium fluid exclusively in specialized coelomic chambers, all other ammoniacal families, including giant squids, store it in the muscle tissue (1).

Some people confuse squids with giant squids, but both of these are very different from one another.

The habitat of giant squid

The habitat of the giant squid is the Twilight zone where it lives deep underwater. It lives at a depth between 1,000 feet and 2,000 feet. Because giant squids live this much down in the water, so we don’t know much about them.

Given that the organisms tend towards an optimum biochemical composition, the levels of nitrogen compounds, carbohydrates and lipids are an expression of an animal’s adaptive characteristics. For example, in the deep sea, modifications in many biochemical systems (e.g. protein and lipid-based systems) are likely to be necessary to permit life under conditions of high pressure and low temperature (2).

The nutritional content of giant squid

A study showed that the muscle of a giant squid contains, in dry mass, 51% protein, and 1.6% fat, from which 0.7% saturated fatty acids, 0.3% monounsaturated fatty acids and 0.9% polyunsaturated fatty acids. It has a high proportion of omega-3 fatty acids and low cholesterol (0.04%). The main essential amino acids are leucine, arginine and lysine and the main non-essential amino acids are glutamic acid, aspartic acid and proline (2). Following are some of the nutrients that are present in giant squid.

  • Zinc
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Cholesterol
  • Protein
  • Iron
  • Manganese

How to cook giant squids

Following are some steps to cook giant squids

  • Add onions and tomatoes to a large container.
  • Then add some salt and pepper and mix well.
  • In the third step, the squid is stuffed with the onion and tomato mixture. More can be added if required.
  • The squid is grilled for about six to eight minutes.
  • It is best to serve squid with hot dip.

Different recipes in which giant squids are used

Following are some recipes in which we can use giant squid as an ingredient. As giant squids contain a high amount of ammonia so we must use them in a small amount

  • Butter garlic squid: After chopping the spring onion, the green part for garnish is set aside at the end. Squid is seasoned with salt and butter. After heating the butter in a frying pan along with the garlic, spring white onions. We will cook it over medium heat until the garlic becomes brown. 

Squids are added after turning the heat high. Give it all a good mix and cook for 2 to 3 mins till the squid is fully prepared. Parmesan will be grated over it. Some fresh lemon will be squeezed over it after mixing it. Before serving it must be garnished with spring onion greens.

  • Grilled squid with garlic, chili, and parsley: The tops of the squid are scored by using a sharp knife, and tentacle pieces are cut away. The squid is dried so that no moisture is left. The purpose of it is to make sure that squid is cooked faster. 

In a large frying pan, one tablespoon of olive oil is heated over high heat. Each side of the squid is cooked for two minutes. After reducing the heat, two tablespoons of olive oil are added to the pan. Add the garlic, chili, and parsley to a pan and sauté in olive oil for a min until the garlic turns golden brown.

  • Grilled squids: After collecting all the ingredients, a grill is heated to high heat. Once we rinse squids under cold water, we will pat dry them with a paper towel. Cut the squid bodies along the length and open flat. In case tentacles are very large, these will be cut too in half.

Olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper are combined in a bowl. Squid bodies and tentacles are added to the bowl, and then these are tossed to coat evenly. Grill over high flame, turning once, just until opaque completely, for approximately 1 to 2 mins. Add some parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

Advantages of giant squid

Following are some advantages of giant squid

  • Good source of protein: A good quantity of protein can be obtained from the giant squid.
  • No carbs: As there are no carbs in giant squid, so no issue of weight gain is faced while the consumption of giant squids.
  • Selenium and Vitamin E: An appropriate quantity of selenium and vitamin E can be availed by eating giant squids. Selenium, which is found in a minute quantity in the body, acts with vitamin E in the improvement of normal body growth and fertility. 1 g of the giant squid muscle contains 0.06 mg of Selenium (3).

As mentioned, the giant squid provides the diet proteins. Enzymatic digestion of proteins, either in vitro or in the human digestive system, leads to formation of several peptides besides amino acids. The digested protein can be absorbed in the intestine in the form of single amino acids, di- or tripeptides, and oligopeptides. Bioactive peptides are protein fragments, which have attracted recent attention due to their interesting physiological functions. These include their antimicrobial, antiviral, antitumor, antioxidative, cardioprotective, immune-modulatory, analgesic, antidiabetic, antiaging, appetite-suppressing, and neuroprotective activities. As an antioxidant, it is believed to play a role in the fight against cancer and can help to inhibit the growth of tumors (4).

Disadvantages of giant squid

  • Some giant squids are poisonous, so they can be harmful to the one who eats them.
  • A high amount of ammonia is present in giant squids. The levels of mercury in the giant squid muscle is considered high (3).

Other FAQs about Squid that you may be interested in.

Can you eat squid ink?

Can you eat raw squid?

Conclusion

In this brief article, we have provided an answer to the question, “Can you eat giant squid?”. We have also elaborated on the nutritional content of giant squid, the different recipes in which giant squids are used, and some advantages and disadvantages of giant squid.

References

  1. Seibel, Brad A., et al. Ammonium content and buoyancy in midwater cephalopods. J Exper Marine Biol Ecol, 2004, 313, 375-387.
  2. Rosa, R., Pereira, J. & Nunes, M.L. Biochemical composition of cephalopods with different life strategies, with special reference to a giant squid, Architeuthis sp.. Marine Biol, 2005, 146, 739–751. 
  3. Bustamante, Paco, et al. Metal and metalloid concentrations in the giant squid Architeuthis dux from Iberian waters. Marine Environ Res, 2008, 66, 278-287.
  4. Venugopal, Vazhiyil, and Kumarapanicker Gopakumar. Shellfish: Nutritive value, health benefits, and consumer safety. Comprehen Rev Food Sci Food Safe, 2017, 16, 1219-1242.

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.