Many different species of insects are eaten around the world, but in Western countries, we’re still generally grossed out at the thought. A report released by the United Nations in 2013 encouraged people to eat more insects. That’s because insects are rich in protein, and farming of insects has a much lower environmental footprint than cattle, for instance. So what’s best to try if you’re an insect-eating newbie? We’re to help you figure out which insects can be quite delicious, and which you can leave for the birds (literally).
Crickets — Crickets are one of the most common insects to be eaten in countries around the world, and the phenomenon is gaining traction in the United States too. You can even buy all-purpose baking cricket flour on Etsy to use in your baked goods as a one for one swap of regular flour. And you can buy cricket flour energy bars from not one, but two, companies. Exo, a company started by two Brown University students, packs 40 crickets (through cricket flour) into each of its energy bars. Another company, Chapul, sells cricket flour chocolate bars. The company’s goal? As stated on the website: “To build a more sustainable future by introducing incredibly efficient insect protein in a delicious, organic product.”
Grasshoppers — If you Google “how to cook grasshoppers,” you can find lots of recipes online. In many countries, these insects are considered a delicacy. One common way to enjoy your grasshoppers? Make grasshopper fritters! Here's how: Add 3/4 cup. of milk and 1 egg to 3/4 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt. Beat until smooth. Here’s the tricky part: Take 1 cup of grasshoppers and dip each of them in the egg batter. Make sure the wings, legs and heads have been removed. Fry oil in a frying pan. Deep-fry the grasshoppers in the pan until they're crunchy and golden brown. Add salt and serve them. Yum.
Mealworms — Don Bugito, an edible insect street food project in San Francisco, sells Mexican-inspired food sourced with local ingredients, such as mealworm tacos. They seek to “share new versions of these classic foods with an American audience as well as support a healthier world by providing a sustainable, ecological food.” If you happen to be in San Francisco, be sure to try their mealworm ice cream.
Scorpions — Not technically an insect, but a member of the arachnid family, scorpions are considered a delicacy in countries like Thailand and China. Sold by street vendors, scorpions are often kept alive until selected by a customer, scooped up and then deep-fried on the spot. Want to try making your own scorpion soup? Here’s how.
So where do you get edible insects? You could try catching some in your own backyard (Bear Grylls-style) or pick them up from an online retailer or farm that sells them. Either way, eating insects is sure to be a memorable experience, and more importantly, the way of the future.
Related on MNN:
- Is eating insects more ethical than eating meat?
- Insects: The new protein source
- Vegans and vegetarians weigh in on eating insects