Scientists and startups see insects as a sustainable protein of the future, and these proteins are already used to make healthy products. Aside from new ideas, what insects can you eat and how do they taste?
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What are the benefits of raising insects?
When it comes to nutrition, insects are better than other meats. Crickets have more complete protein than soy and most of their fats are unsaturated.
They also have dietary fiber. They have some important vitamins and minerals. Insects still pose a lot of problems when it comes to mass production, such as the fact that they go through different stages of life and could pick up toxins.
But the output is still much more cost-effective, long-lasting, and gentle on the land and water resources. Less pollution is also made by it.
Many people also think that farming and eating insects is less cruel because their needs are much simpler: they don’t need company or interaction, they don’t suffer from not getting enough exercise, and it’s still not clear if they can feel fear or pain.
How are insects that can be eaten prepared?
People say that stinkbugs taste like apples, that agave worms are spicy, and that ants can be either sour or sweet.
However, in most Western countries, you won’t be able to try freshly cooked bugs (never eat insects you caught in the wild as you are most likely to contract microscopic parasites).
In North America and Europe, all insects that can be eaten are raised in special farms that follow very strict rules.
Large-scale producers in the West mostly focus on four insect species that can be eaten by humans and are thought to be good for industrialized mass production: house crickets (Acheta domesticus), European migratory locusts (Locusta migratoria), mealworms (Tenebrio Molitor) as larvae, and lesser mealworms (Alphitobius diapering) as larvae.
Crickets and mealworms are the ones that are used the most. When it’s time to harvest the insects, they are freeze-dried and either packed whole or ground up to make insect protein powder. The next step is to cook them as snacks or use them in cooking.
What kinds of food come from insects?
For now, let’s forget about Asia and other exotic places and talk about things that are usually made in the US, Canada, and Europe.
Please keep in mind that all of the insects listed are farmed under very strict rules. Do not use insects from the wild. Here are the most common ways:
Insect Flour: Freeze-dried insects are crushed or mashed to make insect flour. Most of the time, people use cricket flour.
It can be used to thicken gravy or soup or to make snacks and savory pastries. Insect flour is also used to make insect bread, which is called Sirkkaleipa in Finnish.
Insect Burger: These are patties that look like burgers but are made with insect flour and other ingredients instead of beef.
Most of the time, house crickets and mealworms are what they eat. Essento burger, which has mealworms in it, is one example.
Insect protein bars are just like regular protein bars, but they are made with insect proteins, mostly from house crickets. T
here are also other things used. You can’t tell what the protein tastes like because most of what you taste is the flavoring (cocoa, vanilla, or fruits, for example). Finnish BugBites are a type of snack made of oats and insect flour.
Insect pasta is made from a mix of wheat flour and flour made from mealworms or house crickets.
Whole fried insects are sometimes sold as snacks at street stalls in Germany or at events in Ireland, but they are still strange and unusual in this form.