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What insects have you tried?  How did you cook them?  How did it go over?

September 18, 2009 at 11:16 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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For an Entomology Department Open House in college, which attracted at least 3,000 people, I came up with a couple of ideas.  They went over alright- most people couldn't tell there were mealworms on the cake, but the waxworms were out there for everyone to enjoy.


Mealworm Cake

Mealworms were fed apples and oats for two days prior to the event.  There was no other substrate.  This was to prevent any off-flavor from ingesting something like newspaper or egg carton.

The mealworms were washed in a colander with cool water.   Then they were tossed in vegetable oil and dry roasted in an oven set at 200 F for about 4 hours.  When they were crispy, they were allowed to cool and then ground to a fine powder.  The powder was dusted over a frosted sheet cake sort of like powdered sugar.  Children at the even came back for seconds and thirds.


*Originally, the plan had been to grind enough mealworms into powder that a portion of the flour could be replaced with the high protein mealworm powder.  However, due to time constraints (the larvae were not delivered early enough for processing and baking into the cake) we decided that dusting the cake was our best option.


Waxworm fried rice

Waxworms are a kind of caterpillar which live inside of bees' nests and eat the wax and honey.  As you might expect, they generally have a soft exoskeleton and mild, sweet, nutty flavor.


Fried rice, absent meat, was prepared in advance.  The waxworms were deep-fried in oil, and then added to the fried rice as a topping.  This changed the texture to one that was a bit crispier, and made it unlikely that the food would "explode" in the guests' mouths- we thought that might be too much for them to handle.  Some visitors were adventurous enough to try them raw, and other than the texture and pop, found them to be quite delicious.


It is dangerous to eat wild caught arthropods.  In addition to serving as bioaccumulators for toxins and heavy metals in environment, they can also serve as hosts for various pathogens which can be passed on to you if they are not cooked properly- some of these pathogens are known to cause serious illness, blindness, neurological problems, and potentially death. 


You can, however, order arthropods from animal food supply companies. The insects you recieve will be free of pathogens, clean and healthy.  Or you could purchase them at pet stores. 


Crickets can be quite tasty and easy to prepare.  Purchase them a few days in advance, and provide them with only apples, potatoes, or oats.  This prevents off flavor from the ingestion of newspaper and other substrates.  Put them in a refrigerator to help them chill out, wash them in cool water in a colander, and then cook.  They can be fried, sauteed, battered, baked, broiled, etc.  Some people reccomend removing the hind legs, wings, and ovipositor, as those body parts can get stuck in your teeth.  Whether you decide to do that or not, please be sure to cover the container you cook them in...

September 18, 2009 at 11:35 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alan Moskowitz
Posts: 1

Good insight about cleaning out these creatures before eating them by feeding them apples, etc. Also good to know that  it is dangerous to eat wild caught arthropods. Do you have any pictures of the fried lice, oh, I mean fried rice.

September 22, 2009 at 9:56 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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