In our constantly changing world, things that were once considered taboo are fast becoming the norm. Many experts believe that insects will soon become a staple of diets around the world. Now, before you start having flashbacks of the many challenges of eating insects in Survivor, there is no need to eat them raw!
While reality show contestants may have to chew live insects, there are many ways to cook and prepare insects to make them much more attractive. There are also a lot of varieties to choose from, which means there is something for everyone. Some like crispy insects, while others prefer a soft, chewy texture. They also vary in size, so there is no need to bother large worms and similar bugs.
Countries that treat insects
Insects are generally more consumed by the indigenous peoples of several countries. Those who have stayed closer to their roots and history tend to be more open to the consumption of food that Western cultures would consider, at least, questionable. In some cases, the toxins can be consumed in small enough quantities to provide benefits instead of health risks. The natives of Australia are known to consume large quantities of Whitchetty food.
The large mopano worm is consumed by a large number of southern Africans, while parts of Brazil and Colombia are partial to the leaf-cutter ants. In places like Japan, insects are also gaining popularity, and are often fried. Not only adult insects are considered a delicacy, but also eggs and larvae.
That said, as we look at the ways in which the world changes and new ideas develop, it is likely that the Western world will become more accustomed to this way of life.
Benefits of eating insects.
Eating insects can offer a number of advantages. First, it is important to take into account the fact that the increase in the human population directly affects the demand for a protein source. For many of us, meat such as beef, pork and poultry are considered the most common protein sources.
Breeding, breeding and all aspects of livestock are not only demanding, they are also incredibly expensive. Cattle do not just need food and water; They also require medical attention and daily tasks, such as cleaning their pens, require human power.
Insects, on the other hand, take up much less space, and are much easier to care for. Like different types of meat, different insects are also rich in various nutrients. An insect food can provide everything from proteins and carbohydrates to vitamins, minerals and even healthy fats! Cultivating insects often means that indigenous insects are the main focus. That said, import and export on a large scale could be at stake in the future, just like the fresh produce industry.
Like any new type of food, the introduction of insects in your diet should always be done with a certain degree of caution. You never know how your body could react, so you should only try one at a time.
Another important consideration is the source of the insects. It is important to know where they come from and the growing conditions. If the insects have been in contact with any type of pesticide, it can be toxic and unsafe for consumption. It is also extremely important that the insects cook properly, as you would with any other type of meat. Another possible risk is that of bacteria. This is partially solved by ensuring adequate preparation of food, but other measures may be necessary to make large-scale production successful.
According to a study conducted by the University of Wageningen, the CO2 emissions of insects are at least twice those of cattle! That said, insects require less space and less care, so perhaps this additional land could be used to provide some kind of balance. The cultivation of insects will also reduce problems such as overgrazing and subsequent soil erosion and compaction. Cattle, like humans, contribute significantly to water pollution.
Insects, on the other hand, limit the amount of water pollution that is a clear environmental benefit. Whether you farm with livestock or insects, there is always a relationship of energy input and output. Cattle have an average energy ratio of 54: 1 while insects have an average of 4: 1. Insects also tend to develop faster than cattle, and this is one of the main contributing factors to this low proportion .
Types of insects to try
Different insects have different textures and the flavors also vary significantly. If you are starting your insect eating experience, it is often easier to accept the idea of eating insects if you know what to expect. It also helps if you can associate these textures and flavors with those of family foods. These are some of the most popular edible insects around the world.
Worm of the Agave
These are also known as maguey worms, and you may even recognize them. If you have ever seen a bottle of tequila with a worm inside, it is most likely a moth larva Aegiale hesperiaris or Hypopta agavis. The larvae serve as a means to authenticate the alcohol content of the bottle.
The worm requires a certain alcohol content to remain conserved. These worms are commonly eaten in Mexico and offer a high nutritional value.
There are several different types of ants to choose from and, in terms of insects, these might be the easiest to digest. They are quite small compared to other errors, so they can be controlled until you get used to the idea. Honeypot ants are known for their large abdomens. These abdominal structures are filled with a sweet substance, like nectar, which is where they get their name. This substance is used to feed the other ants, and this makes them a sweet gift for humans too.
In Australia, the aborigines unearth and eat them raw. Leaf cutter ants are consumed mainly in South America. Its flavor is described as a combination of pistachio and bacon. They are usually roasted before eating them and, in Colombia, they are served as an alternative to popcorn at local theaters. Lemon ants are native to the Amazon rainforest and, as the name implies, have a lemon flavor.
This worm is popular in Thailand, where it is served fried. These worms are the moth larvae of the grass, and they feed on bamboo before reaching the size necessary for their transformation.
Bees can be eaten in various ways and, considering their sweet diet, they are tasty treats. As larvae, they are often sautéed in butter.
This gives them a kind of mushroom and bacon flavor. The adult bees are roasted before being ground to make flour. The Chinese use ground bees as a home remedy for sore throat.
If you visit China, you will surely find centipedes sold as street food. They are popular with locals and brave tourists too!
They are usually found in the eastern parts of the United States, and live underground for approximately 17 years before appearing above the ground and becoming adults. Right after their adult transformation, their bodies are soft and juicy. They are delicious and tender, so they are so popular in Malaysia, Japan, Thailand and other countries.
This is one of the most difficult mistakes in the world. No matter what this world goes through, cockroaches always seem to survive! Now, you do not want to start harvesting cockroaches from your drains! Properly grown cockroaches are actually perfectly clean and safe to eat.
They can be prepared in various ways, including fried, boiled, roasted or sautéed. It is said that the wild cockroaches of Madagascar have the taste and texture of fried chicken.
These crispy bites can be prepared in various ways, from fried or roasted to boiled or sautéed. It all comes down to personal preferences.
They are one of the most popular mistakes for human consumption and are very popular in Thailand, Mexico and Cambodia.
Dragonflies can be eaten as larvae or as adults. They are popular in China and Indonesia.
The most popular methods of preparation are boiling and frying.
The dung beetle may not sound that appetizing, but it’s a very popular fried treat and, once you come up with the idea of pushing balls of dung, you can enjoy its rich flavor.
These worms are known for their high protein and iron content.
A lot of cultures eat these worms, including the natives of Venezuela.
In Guatemala, the queens are roasted and served on a comal with lemon juice and salt. Its flavor has been compared to that of pork rinds.
Roasted and served with chili and lemon is how these insects are served in Mexico. They are known to be rich in calcium and proteins.
These worms are often found feeding on tomatoes and, for this reason, they are said to have a similar flavor.
Its flavor also includes touches of crab or shrimp to accompany that tomato flavor.
You may know them better as bed bugs, and they contain a substantial amount of B vitamins. Apparently they taste a lot better than they smell. In fact, they have a more bitter taste and are known for their analgesic and tranquilizing properties. In many cases, they are eaten alive because they are known to survive even the toughest cooking methods.
Bugs of June
These insects are eaten as adults and larvae.
They are the most popular among Native Americans. They are often prepared over embers and served as if they were popcorn.
These are one of the few insects that can consume those with certain religious beliefs. The Old Testament refers to lobsters as part of dietary instructions that are taken very seriously even today.
These are some of the smallest mistakes of all and, in native cultures, they are often eaten raw and as soon as they are removed from the host.
This is a popular food in South Africa, and they are wanted because they can get a higher price than beef. They can be eaten in several ways. Some like to dry the worms, and say it has a flavor and texture similar to that of jerky.
These worms are everywhere and everywhere. As the name implies, where you find food, you will find the flour worm!
These worms eventually turn into mealworm beetles. Like worms, they can be sautéed, boiled, fried or roasted. Its flavor has been compared to that of shrimps with a nutty touch.
These are most commonly enjoyed in East Africa. They are pressed together to form a solid block before being cooked and the result is called Kunga cake.
This is a grasshopper that is found in Uganda, and is considered a delicacy. It is often fried, and it is said that the flavor is a combination of shrimp, croutons and chicken.
Because of their shape, they are often referred to as bed bugs. Although they may look like their average, they are actually a relative of the lobster and crab family. When you boil them, they apparently turn red.
These insects are popular in Indonesia and Malaysia. They are covered with sago flour and wrapped with sago leaves before cooking them in Papua New Guinea and Borneo.
It is said that they taste like bacon.
Popular in Korea, these worms are enjoyed as a byproduct of the local silk industry.
These are one of the fiercest mistakes of all. In China and Thailand, they are fried and have a taste similar to that of a crab.
Even if you do not like to hold spiders, you can enjoy a little of this arachnid.
They are popular in Cambodia and rich in protein. Its flavor has been compared with that of the crab.
This is another small bug that is usually eaten raw in places like Kenya. They are often consumed as soon as they are harvested.
Like bees, these insects can be eaten during different stages of their development.
They can be boiled, fried, sautéed or even roasted. It is said that they have an earthy and buttery flavor.
Popular in Papua New Guinea and Asia, they are known to have a lush flavor and, if you like to fish, you can find their legs as suitable substitutes for hooks.
They eat honey and bran when they are grown in captivity. They can be sautéed or roasted, and they taste like a kind of walnut mushroom. They are also known for their high content of essential fatty acids that make them nutritious and beneficial in many ways.
Larvae of wichetty
A popular insect among Australian aborigines, they are often roasted over embers.
They are rich in fat and nutritious proteins. It is said that they have a kind of scrambled egg flavor with nutty touches.
Another important issue to consider is that of culture. We all have our own preferences in terms of diet. Take mushrooms for example. Some people love them, while others can not stand them. Whether it’s the idea of eating “mushrooms” or the texture, it’s mainly a mental problem and the same can be said for insects.
Many of us are brought up with a sense of disgust at anything that writhes or crawls. For some, you do not have to overcome it. For others, it’s all about mind over matter! In some cultures and religions, food must be cultivated and prepared in a certain way.
Similarly, some foods are not accepted culturally at all. In Judaism, for example, most insects are not considered kosher other than kosher lobster. Such cultural and religious matters must always be respected and taken into account.
It’s worth trying at least
If you’re still shrinking at the thought of a juicy worm crashing between your molars or the crunch of a cricket’s exoskeleton, remember you’ll never know until you try it! Just like the introduction of solid foods into a baby’s diet, it is good to do it step by step.
For those who are new to the insect diet, some of the best to start with are beetles (manure, June and rhinoceros), butterflies and moths in various stages of development, bees, wasps and even ants. If you do not mind the crisis, then, of course, put some crickets, grasshoppers and locusts. You may feel the need to go to things like flies and mosquitoes.