Insects: A Delectable Wonder

Have you ever crave something crunchy, spicy, and savory? You are probably thinking of potato chips or chicken wings. You will be interested to know that there is another crunchy, spicy, and savory food that is also healthy and high in protein. Do you know what it is? I’ll give you a hint. This appetizing food can be found crawling or jumping on your front lawn. They are everywhere! You guessed it, bugs! Edible insects could be the new craze.

So many insect options and so delicious!

Fried-insects food stand at Train Night Market Ratchada, Bangkok, Thailand. Photo credit: Ploy Kurdmongkoltham

Entomophagy is the practice of consuming insects as food. It may sound a bit unorthodox, but in certain countries insects are a major protein source. In southern Africa, mopane worms (Imbrasia belina) are a great protein source for rural population. National Geographic reports that two billion people eat insects regularly. Why do people choose bugs as food? Imagine you live in a place where beef and fish are hard to come by. Maybe you are a college student who is tired of eating Ramen noodles.  Insects are readily available! The resource is plentiful and the nutritional value is comparable to other meats. According to Food and Agricultural Organization (FOA), adult locusts (Locusta migratoria) have similar protein content as raw beef and catfish. When compared to the Florida’s own arthropod yellow mealworm larvae (Tenebrio molitor), beef has a higher fat content. If you are looking to lose a few pounds, yellow mealworm larvae stir-fry may be in your next meal!

 

If you are still not convinced that eating insects can be appetizing, how about a recipe that will make your mouth

water! For other delicious recipes, go to www.insectsarefood.com/recipes

Cricket Pad Thai

Eating insects in Thailand

An appetizing meal at Train Night Market Ratchada, Bangkok, Thailand. Photo credit: Ploy Kurdmongkoltham

Ingredients:

1 cup prepared crickets*

8-10 oz rice stick noodles (dried)

2 tbsp. soy sauce

6 tbsp. fish sauce

6 tbsp. lime juice

4 tbsp peanut oil

4 tsp. sugar

3-4 cloves of garlic

3 eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup fresh cilantro

¼ cup crushed peanuts

½ cup chopped scallions

1 lime (cut into wedges for garnish)

 

*Cricket Preparation: Crickets should be placed in plastic bags and put in the freezer for 1 to2 hours prior to cooking to ensure no survival. Once you are ready to cook; you will boil the crickets, add few pinches of salt and boil for additional 2 minutes. Then, you will remove the water and let them cool. Now, you are ready to add them to your favorite recipes. You can also place crickets in storage bags and keep them in the freezer for later use.

Directions: Combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar in a small bowl and blend well. Pour oil into a wok, and cook the crickets over medium-high heat. Put cooked crickets in a small bowl, and use the wok to scramble the eggs. Put the eggs aside on a plate. Fry garlic and scallions until soft. Place the sauce mixture, crickets and eggs back into the wok, and warm thoroughly. While waiting for the mixture to warm, you can cook rice noodles for about 10 minutes in boiling water. Remove and drain the rice noodles, and add to wok. Toss everything thoroughly. Top it with peanuts, cilantro, and lime wedge for garnish.

Insects can be a great substitute for conventional meat. Not only are they healthy, but this resource is available for you when you walk outside. Your backyard can become your grocery store! Besides, you can deep-fry insects or covered them in Nutella. Delicious! Why not add insects into your diet?

 

Ploy sm

My guest collaborator today is Ploy Kurdmongkoltham. Ploy is a student in our Doctor of Plant Medicine program.

References

Florida State Collection of Arthropods. A distributional checklist of the beetles (Coleoptera) of Florida.

Holland, J. 2013. U.N. urges eating insects; 8 popular bugs to try. National Geographic.

(IAF) Insects Are Food. 2009. Cricket pad Thai. 

Van Huis, A., J. V. Itterbeeck, H. Klunder, E. Mertens, A. Halloran, G. Muir, and P. Vantomme.  2013. Edible insects: future prospects for food and feed security. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome, Italy.