Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 273

Grass Jelly: Today's new food find is another selection from my trip to the Fiesta Farmers Market on Buford Highway. While their inventory wasn't nearly as extensive as the Buford Highway Farmers Market's, I did manage to find a few interesting things that I'd never seen before. While browsing their Asian canned foods, I saw this can of "grass jelly." I can't say that it looked very appetizing, but it seemed to be a popular product, and the market also sold several other items (mostly drinks) that featured it as an ingredient. I have a hard time saying no to things I can't identify at all, so I grabbed one of the cans to take home.
When I decided to give it a try tonight, I really had no idea where to start. Was this supposed to be served as a side? A dessert? Rather than research it first, I opted to open the can and try it by itself. Once I got the lid off, I was confronted with a dark (almost black), gelatinous substance that was hard to imagine eating. I turned the can upside down and dumped the contents into a bowl, and the can-shaped mold reminded me of the ubiquitous cranberry sauce that a lot of families use at Thanksgiving. I can't say I was excited about trying this, but I grabbed a spoon and dove in.
My first bite was, well, underwhelming but interesting. It really didn't taste like anything at all, to be honest. The texture was just like Jell-O, but the only flavor was a faint grassy, plastic-like aftertaste that kept me from wanting any more. I couldn't imagine anyone wanting to eat this stuff by itself, and after doing some research, I discovered that no one really does. Oops.

According to Wikipedia, grass jelly is used as an ingredient in many Asian desserts. It's made from boiling the stalks and leaves of mesona chinensis (a relative of the mint plant) with starch, then cooling the liquid into a gelatin. A common practice is to mix the jelly with syrup or sugar to produce a sweet drink, so maybe I'll try that with the rest of what I have. I don't recommend trying this one on its own.


  1. Thanks! Less than 100 days to go now, stick with me...