There are three edible species of octopus, but the common octopus, Octopus Vulgaris, is the most commonly available and best eaten. It can grow up to 300 cm or nine feet long. On the fishmonger's slab, look for the double row of suction cups. Industrial agriculture is a bad idea for all beings, since no one wants to endlessly suffer in a cage or tank just to be painfully killed.
The countries that eat the most octopus are Korea, Japan and the Mediterranean countries, where they are considered a delicacy. As demand for eating octopus increases, even in North America, it has been branded an ethical and environmental disaster, with a whole new set of controversial issues. Despite increased demand for octopus, the number of octopus caught in the wild is declining due to fishing. Learn more about fishing here.
In addition to being extremely intelligent, octopus requires stimulating and living environments that are not found on industrial farms. People recognize that it is inhumane to force these exotic animals to live together in bleak conditions with nothing that comes naturally to them. Forcing octopus into captivity and mass-producing it as food is cruel and unnecessary. Octopuses and squid live in saltwater from the tropics to temperate zones.
Like clams and oysters, octopus and squid are molluscs (invertebrate marine creatures), classified as cephalopods, meaning “head legs”. The arms “are connected to their heads, while the rest of the body is in front of the head. Octopus is commonly confused with calamari, although both are strikingly different in flavor (when served raw) and cooking methods. A lot of people think that squid dishes are made of octopus, when in reality squid are made from a type of squid.
This confusion could be due to similar flavors when preparing octopus. Octopus has a light flavor that some compare to chicken or even pork. A low-calorie, nutritious and satiating protein, octopus is full of vitamins and is low in fat and high in iron. Octopus can be prepared by scalding it in boiling water and then baking it, as well as boiling, roasting or poaching it.
Because the flavor of octopus evolves depending on the ingredients used in cooking, many prefer to eat it raw. Squid may be a little harder than an octopus, but the meat has a softer texture and, when cooked well, is tender and firm. Squid meat easily absorbs butter and sauces and can be prepared in a variety of ways, such as braising, boiling, browning and grilling. The key to getting a tender texture rather than a chewy texture is to cook squid hot and fast or over low heat.
Cooking at intermediate temperatures will leave you with an unpleasant hardness. Meanwhile, octopuses that hunt in the open sea are more likely to feed on fish, as well as shrimp and other cephalopods. I like to think of an octopus as a hand with eight fingers, but with a mind of its own and the amazing ability to change color, size, shape and texture. Octopus is low in calories, lean, and is a great way to incorporate protein into your diet without consuming a lot of fat.
Octopuses are sometimes eaten or prepared alive, a practice that is controversial due to scientific evidence that octopuses experience pain. Octopus is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, good fats linked to a number of heart-healthy benefits. Given their widespread distribution, importance, and size, octopus in one region can differ dramatically from others. As I ordered sole and prawns, he assured me that he had never heard stories of octopus intelligence.
Aquaculture advocates say growing octopus is the only way to ensure sustainability and meet demand. Octopus Maya, the species he works with, is one of several that skip the paralarval stage and are born as fully formed mini octopus. Miruhulee boava is a Maldivian delicacy made of octopus tentacles cooked in curry leaves, chili, garlic, cloves, onions, peppers and coconut oil. A common scene on the Greek islands is octopus hanging from a rope in sunlight, as well as dirty clothes from a clothesline.