Edible Insects . . . It's What's For Dinner
More Protein Than Beef
With soaring food prices and a limited budget I have learned to be creative when trying to get more protein in my diet. In Edible Insects . . . It's What's For Dinner I will explore a great way to gain more protein while promoting Green Living.
Insects have a real bad reputation as a food source and I for one just don't understand the prejudice. Sure there is the sickening crunch with the first bite, but the juicy insides more than make up for a little texture and fiber. Trust me the taste will literally grow on you and in you for that matter!
After all the hardest part about eating bugs is catching them however with a little creativity that can easily be solved. If you leave bread crumbs, leftover pizza or rotting fruit in a jar overnight inside or outside by the next day you will have plenty of tasty morsels to choose from in the morning.
One of my favorite edible insects is roaches, because as a single guy I'm not the greatest housekeeper, so all have I to do is turn on the light and be quick to have a midnight snack. Since I enjoy the crunch, I do my best to capture them live and then just pop them in, still twitching!
Once you pop, you can't stop!
Say for instance you start a crock pot full of veggies to cook overnight but are a little light on the meat, not a problem . . . just turn out the lights, wait for the little buggers to show themselves, hit the switch and start grabbing them. You don't even need to kill them just thrown them in with the veggies and the heat will kill them if they don't drown first.
On a more serious note . . .
"It's estimated that the average human eats one pound (half a kilogram) of insects each year unintentionally,"
I love to fish and often use crickets, grasshoppers and worms for bait, but I never knew what to do with the leftover bait. Well, learning to live a Frugal Lifestyle I decided what the heck, whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?
Entomophagy: Is the consumption of insects as a food source. I kid you Not!
Now grasshoppers and crickets pose one significant digestive problem, although the legs go down fairly easy, they don't come out all that great. So I have learned to spit them out before swallowing, kind of like sunflowers seeds. Sure there is an art form to this but you can get the hang of it fairly quickly.
Now I don't care for worms but on the other hand I hear they slide down easily! You will probable want to chew them first as feeling them crawling around in your stomach could be quite unsettling.
I haven't tried minnows, but what are sardines after all and since we are talking about insects, I will stay on point.
Now since some of you might think that getting your protein in raw form is a little gross, I would suggest that you simple take your leftover bait home using them in stir fry, baking them in the oven or as I mentioned throwing them in the crock pot! They can also be used to spice up any roast as a garnish or putting them on pizza.
The sheer diversity of recipes edible insects can be used for is simple staggering and most often your guest will never know the difference.
One of my all time favorites is to mash up a bowl of roaches (crickets if you prefer) and when they have reached a gooey texture making them into patties for the grill. Your neighbors will love you and be asking for your recipe, of course if they are prejudicial as mine are they may never talk to you again and threaten you with a lawsuit.
I have found that most humans are very finicky with their food, so I would suggest that you don't tell any dinner guest what they have just eaten edible insects until after dinner. Be sure to have your camera ready as the look on their faces is usually priceless.
However be fore-warned that some of my dinner guest have gotten quite hostile and of course some still don't know, so don't tell anyone it'll be our secret, Shhhh!
Grubs, Larva and Maggots
I saved the best for last, larva, grubs and maggots are quite possible the best tasting edible insects you can find. Like a delicious veal, these are the delicacies of the edible insect world and are to die for, literally, kind of taste like shrimp
Most insects prefer to lay their eggs in rotting vegetation or corpses to supply their offspring with nutrients when they hatch. So when looking for these delicacies kick over a bloated corpse or rotting log and you can usually find a smorgasbord of tasty morsels.
Finding bloated corpse's can be problematic, but I have a simple solution . . . road kill. You heard it here first, why let a perfectly good corpse rot in the Sun or become buzzard bait, after all the Native American's used what nature had to offer. Simple pull your car over and if you're a little squeamish about getting your hands dirty, kick the smooshed corpse over and reap the bounty!
I call it Kick A Corpse For Protein, catchy huh?
Maggots are my favorite and you will be tempted to eat them on the spot but try to refrain as the rotting flesh you retrieve them from can sometimes taint their succulent meat. I have found the best way to prepare them is like shrimp, by steaming them with just a light coating of garlic butter they can be scrumptious!
Did you know that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows for a certain amount of insects in all processed food as long as it doesn't pose health risks. What is known as micro-livestock often finds its way into vegetables and other food and is deemed unavoidable.
For example, chocolate can have up to 60 insect fragments per 100 grams, tomato sauce can contain 30 fly eggs per 100 grams, and peanut butter can have 30 insect fragments per 100 grams (3.5 ounces), according to the FDA.
So in conclusion if soaring food prices have you down or the budget doesn't allow for your favorite meat, learn to eat Insects . . . It's What's For Dinner.