We probably won’t see a commercial touting the benefits of the “incredible edible” bug any time soon, but the truth is, we eat bugs every day. We just don’t realize it.
From flour beetles and weevils in grains to grubs and other tiny insects in processed foods, our bug consumption is ongoing, and even healthy! They are low in fat and high in protein, so why not just throw out the butchered animals and processed foods and get right down to bug eating.
Where would I get edible bugs?
The obvious answer would be to catch them in the wild. I don’t recommend crawling under your water heater in the cellar to collect dinner roaches, but if you live in a rural area you might send the kids outside to round up some crickets, grasshoppers or worms. Raising insects would be rewarding, I suppose, for the manic gardener, but for the novice, I would suggest visiting the local pet shop or insect supplier.
You’ve obtained dinner, so now what?
You can’t just spread crickets or worms on a pan and expect them to stay there. They know what’s up, and will try to escape. To avoid an insect invasion in your kitchen, place the insects in cheesecloth and rinse them thoroughly, shaking the bag. This will also stun them into submission. Put them in a plastic bag and store them in the freezer for about 15 minutes, time enough to kill them but not freeze them.
Of course, presentation is everything!
Unless PETA is banging on your door, you can now prepare the little buggers for consumption. Some entomophagy enthusiasts eat their bugs live and raw, but most prefer to cook them in a palatable recipe, in effect removing the disgust factor. It takes a brave aficionado to simply pop a squiggling worm or a handful of ants into his mouth, chew, and swallow. Suggested disguises might include Meal worm Chocolate Chip Cookies, Ant Brood Tacos, and for you chocolate lovers, Chocolate Covered Crickets.
A word of caution…
Not everyone possesses the same sense of culinary adventure that a bug eater does. Alerting dinner guests of your intention to serve bee grubs or dragonfly nymphs would be encouraged prior to the feast, rather than after the dessert of fried green caterpillars.
The choice of the perfect wine to accompany your bug-fest is up in the air, but do not close your mind to the possibility of replacing the vino with something perhaps a bit stronger. The faint of heart can usually muster up the courage required of first-timers bug eating with a few slugs of 150 proof hooch.
Enjoy, and the next time Halloween rolls around, consider passing out a few lemon flavored spiders. They’re healthier than candy and the other little buggers will love them!