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Dining Options for Insect Delicacies

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Dining Options for Insect Delicacies

insect food stall

In my last piece on this subject, Bugs: A Cheap, Nutritious, Sustainable Way to Eat, I introduced the idea of eating insects for survival or as a regular source of food.

In this article, you’ll find ways to do that. First, in survival, then in the comfort of your kitchen.

Insect Foods for Survival

Here’s one way to save yourself a lot of time and energy gathering and preparing food. Yes, you can hunt, fish, and look for fruits, but just remember that there’s a good chance you’re surrounded by food right where you are: insects. After all, they’re 4/5 of all the animals on this planet.

Any place that you normally find bugs is open season. Look for shady spots, protected areas and moist locations. Take a peek under rocks as well as in, and underneath, trees and shrubs.

Caves and cracks or crevasses in the earth and rock are also likely spots; but, remember that you need to keep yourself safe while surviving. Be cautious not to get involved with a snake, unstable rock, or other safety issues.

Collect crawling insects in whatever you have: a can, bag, or any other container. The better it seals, the more food you’ll be able to keep from walking or falling away.

Grasshoppers, beetles, worms, grubs, termites, crickets and larvae can be good finds, but other bugs are good food, too.

Cooking Them Up

Make a small fire and cook directly over the flames or use the coals. Boil, fry, whatever. You might hang a cup, support a piece of metal, skewer food on sticks without bark, or put a metal pot against the flames, for instance.

For more ideas on improvised cooking, take a look at the article Survival Outdoor Cooking in Urban or Rural Situations – Part I.

Large insects usually need to have wings and legs removed, especially if barbed. If you don’t do that with grasshoppers, for example, leg pieces can get stuck in your throat. Take off the shells of beetles.

TV shows sometimes make it look like it’s okay to eat raw insects; it’s not. You don’t need to add parasites or other bad stuff to your list of concerns while trying to survive.

After about 15 minutes of cooking (depending on how many you have on), you can eat them. Or, you can wait until they are golden brown and/or crispy.

Entomophagic Cooking For Everyday Living

Where to start? I mean, could one article cover all the points of cooking beef or fish? Let me, at least, help to introduce the idea to you.

Cooking insects doesn’t have to be about survival and dirty campfires. It can be about nice kitchens and dinners at the table. It is every day in many places around the world.

I think part of the challenge of making it appealing relates to a concept in Japanese cooking. From what I understand, what a meal looks like is just as important to the taste as the ingredients in the food.

When people think of eating insects, they think of eating the whole insect with antennae and legs sticking out. This is reinforced by photos of some traditional dishes that are like this. These particular dishes might not look very nice at first.

I think most people would not be as attracted to a hamburger if it were just a slab of cow. A chicken sandwich might not be as enticing if it were two pieces of bread… and a chicken.

Cooking is a well-developed art that, over the centuries, has invented many ways to mix together ingredients. Why not use them? There are many dishes in which there is no need to see all the body parts.

Example: Cicada Prep

One of the best suggestions for working with insects is to grind them to bits or a powder and add them to other things. Mix them in with flour or other ingredients.

For example-cicadas. If you dry roast them and grind them up, you can use them as a substitute for nuts while baking.
If you’ve bought your insects from a good supplier, you’re ready to go! If you’ve learned about how to gather insects, remember that newly hatched cicadas are best because their shells have not hardened. Collect them in a bag in the early morning. They will have emerged but not yet climbed out of reach.

Blanch the cicadas in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Cook with them right away or freeze. Remember to remove wings and legs before using.

To dry-roast, place the cicadas (or other insects) on a cookie sheet. Roast them for 10-15 minutes at 225 degrees. They should be a soft dry consistency and kind of nut-like.

A Baking Recipe

Here’s a base recipe for banana bread into which you can add insects:

–> ½ cup shortening

–> ¾ cup sugar

–> 2 bananas, mashed

–> 2 cups flour

–> 1 teaspoon soda

–> 1 teaspoon salt

–> ½ cup chopped nuts

At this point, you can go a variety of ways. Add ½ cup dry roasted cicadas for cicada banana bread, for instance. Or, add 2 eggs and ¼ cup dry roasted worms for worm banana bread. Get creative.

When done making your ingredient decisions, mix together all ingredients. Bake in a greased loaf pan at 350 degrees F for about one hour.

modern kitchen

And What Do Insect-Based Foods Taste Like?

Obviously, part of it will depend on how you prepare it-boiled/fried, plain/BBQ sauce, etc. Beyond that, it’s personal taste.

Ask two people what a mushroom tastes like, and you might get two different answers: same for bugs. As Dave Gracer, advisor for Insects Are Food, said:

“… dry-toasted cricket tastes like sunflower seeds; katydid like toasted avocado; palm grub like bacon soup with a chewy, sweet finish. Weaver ant pupae have practically no flavor, while the meat of the giant water bug is, astonishingly, like a salty, fruity, flowery Jolly Rancher.”

The Future of Entomophagy

If these foods become more accepted as well as more insect food restaurants popping up, it’s probable that food companies will provide more pre-made options like roast cicada or ground worm to make entomophagic dining even easier to look at as well as eat.

Mark Dorr 2013, All Rights Reserved

References & Image Credits:
(1) Wikimedia
(2) eHow
(3) Care2.com
(4) Wikimedia

Originally published on TopSecretWriters.com

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Top Secret Editors

Ryan is the founder of Top Secret Writers. He is an IT analyst, blogger, journalist, and a researcher for the truth behind strange stories.
Lori is TSW's editor. Freelance writer and editor for over 17 years, she loves to read and loves fringe science and conspiracy theory.

Top Secret Writers

Gabrielle is a journalist who finds strange stories the media misses, and enlightens readers about news they never knew existed.
Sally is TSW’s health/environmental expert. As a blogger/organic gardener, she’s investigates critical environmental issues.
Mark Dorr grew up the son of a treasure hunter. His experiences led to working internationally in some surprising situations!
Mark R. Whittington, from Houston, Texas, frequently writes on space, science, political commentary and political culture.

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