Birds nests are actually eaten as food in some parts of the world. In China and Indonesia, for example, the nest of the swiftlet is used to create a delicious soup that is said to be good for promoting youthfulness and extending a person’s life. In order to make the nest edible and safe to eat, it needs to be meticulously cleaned.
Any food manufacturer that makes bird’s nest soup will have an intensive cleaning process that their employees go through with the nests before packaging them for soup, and we want to tell you a bit about that process here.
The cleaning crew will start by pulling out the obvious items in the bird’s nest that are not meant to be consumed. This means getting rid of feathers, dirt, sticks, leaves and other bits of debris that are not considered edible or safe to eat. The swiftlet’s nest is made from dried saliva, but anything else needs to be removed for the nest to retain its flavor and nutritional value and to be considered healthy to consume.
No Chemicals Should Be used
While it is possible to make the bird’s nest sanitary using bleach or some other strong chemical, this is a bad idea. Bleach can kill the flavor of the nest and tank its nutritional value. Of course, using the wrong chemicals can also make the nest unsafe for human consumption.
Any quality food manufacturer making bird’s nest soup will also avoid using any additives, as these don’t really increase the value of the soup. They can alter the traditional flavor as well, diminishing the quality of the recipe.
The next step in the cleaning process is to perform a detailed cleaning using a magnifying glass. The cleaning personnel will take tweezers or some other fine tool to pull out any remaining particles that should not be in the nest. This helps the nest to retain its pure, desired color and to be free of harmful contaminants. Under the magnifying glass, the cleaning personnel can see anything that they might have missed the first time. If they find that too many particles were missed in the initial cleaning, then they may send it back to the first cleaning person for a more thorough cleaning.
A Powerful Process
Reverse osmosis is used by most food manufacturers to clean the nest. This is the same kind of process used to filter water of its contaminants and make it safe for drinking, and it does a great job of pulling out particles that don’t belong in the nest. Reverse osmosis can be a lengthy and expensive process to perform, which is why bird’s nest soup can be so costly, but there isn’t a more thorough way to clean the nest and make it safe to eat.
If the nest is cleaned properly, it comes out pristine, with its natural color still intact, and potent flavor on offer that makes it such a desired dish.