Let’s talk about insects! For Western cultures, cooking and eating insects is considered off-putting. However, in other regions such as Africa and Asia, bugs have been part of the diet for a long time. But things are changing. We are starting to see how consuming insects, as a source of proteins instead of meat, might have a massive and positive impact on the environment, especially greenhouse gases.
Let’s face it, the world’s population is rising and the Earth’s resources are finite. Raising beef for meat takes time (2 years), space for it to feed (if the cow is lucky enough to graze outside), use land just for food supplements (especially in the winter when the animals are kept inside,), use a lot of water and make up for a total of 15% of greenhouse gases emission.
Insects, on the other hand, do not use as many resources. They grow quickly, can be raised very locally and don’t take too much place (you could literally grow them at home). They can be fed with leftovers and their droppings can be used as fertilizer.
This is in addition to the fact that bugs are a great source of minerals, vitamins and proteins.
A 2013 report by the. Food and Agriculture Organization, mentions that there are nearly 2,000 species of edible insects on the planet. That is quite a lot! In Europe and the US, the number of species allowed for sale or use is limited (mostly crickets, locusts, worms…) so you can be sure that they are safe to eat. There is just one restriction: if you have a shellfish allergy, there is a good chance you will react to insects since insects and shellfishes are closely related. Be sure to check the allergens warning label.
What if, for instance, you get lost for days in the wild and need to feed? The rule of thumb is to avoid brightly colored bugs. Those colors are in fact a warning to predators meaning that they are not good to eat.
There can be different ways to cook insects: grilled, steamed, fried… You can cook them whole or they can be used as ingredients for instance, in protein bars. This might be a great way to start for the more squeamish since the bugs are ground and mixed into the bar’s filling.
For the next step, we recommend you try crickets. They are small, quite neutral in taste (this is where seasoning and a good sauce can do miracles if you are a little afraid to try).
If you’d like to go a little further and give cooking insects a try, here are a couple of tips.
If you decide to fry your insects, you only need to cook them for a few seconds. They are small and will burn easily.
For instance, here are some ideas for destinations:
You’ve guessed it, eating insects might become a big part of a solution for a sustainable food intake in the future and curb greenhouse gasses emissions (and thus fight global warming). There is still a long way to go to win the hearts and minds of many humans but slowly, the critters are crawling into our plates, and it might just be more delicious than you think.