Edible insects; you may feel that these two words do not even belong in the same sentence. You have every right to be skeptical. In all probability, you have never deliberately eaten an insect. However you have probably inadvertently consumed over a pound of insects in your lifetime.
Your insect consumption adds up. Flour beetles, weevils, and other insect pests that infest granaries are milled along with the grain, finally ending up as tiny black specks in your piece of bread. Small grubs and other tiny insects can be found in your fruit and vegetables. Insects are especially common in canned and other types of processed food, and even in certain beverages; I once went on a tour of an apple orchard and while the group was viewing the area where they separate the rotten and bug infested fruits from the good ones, I asked the tour guide what they did with the bug infested apples. She told me that they use them to make cider; waste not, want not! It is virtually impossible that you have not ingested insects in one form or another during your lifetime. And it probably did not harm you, but instead did you some good by providing extra protein in your meal!
There are a number of points that I would like to make:
Some insects are edible. In fact, most insects are edible, but there are a few species that are especially palatable, nutritious, and easily obtainable. I will concentrate on these.
Many species of insects are lower in fat, higher in protein, and have a better feed to meat ratio than beef, lamb, pork, or chicken.
Insects are tasty. Really! Even if you are too squeamish to have them as a main dish, you can make insect flour and add it to bread and other dishes for an added protein boost.
Insects are easy to raise. There is no manure forking. No hay bale lifting. No veterinary bills. You can raise them in an apartment without getting complaints.
Insects are beautiful. I think that all insects are beautiful, but most people I know will marvel at the iridescence of a butterfly, but shudder at the striping of a mealworm.
Most people do not mind butchering insects. The butchery of insects is very simple compared with that of cattle or poultry, and nowhere near as gory.
Raising insects is environmentally friendly. They require minimal space per pound of protein produced, have a better feed to meat ratio than any other animal you can raise, and are very low on the food chain. They are healthy, tasty, and have been utilized for the entire history of mankind (after all, it is easier to catch a grub than a mammoth).
Also, as far as I know, no animal rights activists object to the eating of insects. You don’t need to destroy any wildlife habitat to eat insects, and you can incorporate insects and earthworms into a recycling program……vegetable waste in, yummy insect protein out.
O.K., O.K., I admit the slight possibility of disadvantages…
The only real problem you may run into while utilizing insect protein is the lack of social acceptance. That is why we sensible insect eaters must make it our duty to educate the public about the value of insect protein. You may encounter widespread disbelief, “You’re kidding me. You don’t eat insects!”, revulsion “Yuck! You eat insects!?! “, and refusal “You will not ever get me to eat insects.” Press on! Remember, insects are the food of the future, and you are paving the way for future generations.
Is there a better name for it than insect eating?
Why yes, there is. The word is Entomophagy. You would think that a word this melodious would be in common usage, but sadly this is not the case. In fact, you probably have never heard this word before (unless you happen to be a friend of mine). Find ways to interject the word entomophagy in casual conversation, as in: “Did I ever tell you about the stunning array of culinary options revealed through the study of entomophagy ?”
Other Random Entomophagy Factoids
In case you need a little more persuasion:
There are 1,462 recorded species of edible insects. Doubtless there are thousands more that simply have not been tasted yet.
100 grams of cricket contains: 121 calories, 12.9 grams of protein, 5.5 g. of fat, 5.1 g. of carbohydrates, 75.8 mg. calcium, 185.3 mg. of phosphorous, 9.5 mg. of iron, 0.36 mg. of thiamin, 1.09 mg. of riboflavin, and 3.10 mg. of niacin.
Compare this with ground beef, which, although it contains more protein (23.5 g.), also has 288.2 calories and a whopping 21.2 grams of fat!