Sure, for many, the mere thought of chomping down on an insect the size of a cricket can give the old blood pressure a tweak. However, what you are truly missing out on is that the manner in which these edible insects can affect your blood pressure is actually in a positive way. That’s correct. Eating crickets can help to lower your blood pressure. Here’s how they do it.
Potassium Is Good For Your Heart
Crickets happen to be high in protein and potassium. In fact, in some cases, crickets outweigh pork tenderloin in the protein department and almost match bananas in potassium. Because crickets measure so high in potassium, you could have a magic heart saving secret weapon hopping around in your garden. That’s because studies have shown that individuals with hypertension recorded lower blood pressure levels after consuming potassium.
Potassium has some additional benefits for humans including the ability to reduce stomach bloating. Bloating – in case you didn’t know – is caused usually by the sodium that is contained in salty-tasting foods. And who doesn’t like salty foods? We know. It’s a tough one to get around but with potassium as the solution to the problem, you almost have a good reason to have another bag of potato chips or whatever else you crave that is heavy on sodium.
How To Eat The Things That Bug You
Assuming your next move is to start adding edible insects to your diet – even if just to scoop a few of the cardio benefits – there are a number of ways to snack on crickets. Probably the easiest way is to roast them. Your best bet is to quickly freeze live crickets then once your oven reaches the right temperature, take the frozen crickets and spread them around on a platter. Season with your favourite seasonings and roast until they are crisp and crunchy.
If the idea of freezing live crickets isn’t your thing – and you freeze them before roasting in order to keep them fresh – you can always opt for cricket flour. This is a mixture of ground up crickets that is added to regular white flour which in turn makes the flour protein and potassium rich. Cricket flour is then used in various baking recipes as you would use regular flour. The only difference is that those biscuits or loaves of bread are now higher in two nutrients.
Two other alternatives that utilize cricket flour are cricket protein bars and cricket pasta. These two happen to be my favourite ways to enjoy crickets. The benefits to eating cricket protein bars are many and they are available in a number of different flavours for your enjoyment. As for cricket pasta, many different meals can be prepared with this as you would with regular pasta. Hot or cold, cricket pasta packs a punch with high protein and potassium levels.
Need More Information On Edible Insects?
I have published an eBook on edible insects. For more information, click here.
You know, sometimes it’s a lot of fun to just play with words. I happen to enjoy puns and I have never really put too much thought into the kinds of puns that could come from the topic of edible insects…well, not until now. So let’s see where I end up going with this.
1 – Bee In Your Bonnet
Hmmm, that was kind of an obvious choice, I think. Considering bees are one of many insects consumed as an alternative protein source. You could say that they have created quite a buzz!
2 – Nothing But Crickets
Call it a chirp shot, if you must, but since crickets score at the higher end of the protein scale, they are typically one of the better known options. That doesn’t bug me at all.
3 – Don’t Be A Pest
Edible insects in your diet translate to much more than a fly in your soup. In fact, you’d probably be better off with a fly soup. Either way, you’d be eating something good for you.
4 – Worm Your Way Into It
Yup, there are all kinds of creepy crawly things that fall under the category of insect protein. You just have to know where to look in order to find the right sources.
5 – Ants In Your Pants
Actually, these little critters are better for you on a plate and in many cases, if they have been dipped in chocolate, they tend to be a lot tastier. So we’ve heard.
You Get The Idea, Don’t You?
While it may be fun to joke around about edible insects, the reality is that this is a very serious topic. In fact, there are enough insects in the world that can be eaten that the planet’s hunger problem could easily be solved. Plus, with so many cultures already dining on bugs, it shouldn’t be a big stretch to see how this could be a beneficial project to work on in the future.
But for now, I’ll enjoy my cricket flour in protein bars and in pasta. Did I mention that you can snack on insects in other forms just in case you just can’t bring yourself to chomp on a deep-fried or roasted insect? Yes, there are many ways in which insects can be added to your diet and with such things as insect flour and pasta it removes the ick factor for many of us.
I know I have written about bugs and the nutritional value that insects contain for some time now. I’ve even indicated that a large percentage of the world’s population dine on edible insects. However, I’ve never really indicated what some of those countries are other than to point out that insect protein is in many cases a vital part of many different cultures. So this time around my goal is to focus on the top bug eating countries in the world.
1 – Thailand
Entomophagy is nothing new to the people of Thailand. In fact, many snack on fried bugs and chase them down with a frosty cold beer. Outdoor markets in the larger cities feature vendors selling fried edible insects and one very popular national treat is a deep-fried cricket covered in a soy sauce-like seasoning with pepper. Other insects that are commonly eaten in Thailand include grasshoppers and wood worms.
2 – Ghana
Termites happen to be viewed differently by Ghanaians than they are by most of the rest of us. While many find them pests, the people of Ghana usually dine on them along with other insects as a normal part of their daily diet. Termites are actually high in proteins, oils and fats and are typically fried, roasted or ground into flour for baking. Bugs fill the meal plans when food is in short supply during the spring.
3 – Mexico
If you think I’m heading towards talking about worms in bottles of tequila, you would be wrong. Bugs have been on the Mexican food radar for centuries and have become somewhat of a delicacy in many cases. Choices range from French-fried caterpillars and ant eggs smothered in hot butter to candy-covered worms and chocolate-covered locusts. And, yes, there’s also that bottle of mescal with a moth larvae inside of it to drink.
4 – China
Insects in their larval state are often served in the fanciest of dining establishments in China. The Chinese are also known to snack on boiled water bugs soaked in vinegar and live scorpions swimming in liquor. Roasted bee larvae and fried silkworm larvae are top choices simply because they register high in iron, copper, zinc, thiamin and riboflavin. When the people of China start to feel the winter chill, they warm with a bowl of ant soup.
5 – Brazil
Queen ants are the national edible insect of choice in Brazil. In fact, celebrations revolve around the massive winged ants that pop out from underground late each year. They are collected where their wings are removed and the ants are either fried or dipped in chocolate as snacks for Brazilians. The ants are so popular that they are celebrated in many different ways throughout the country. Apparently, they taste like mint.
6 – Australia
If it wasn’t for the high concentration of protein found in edible insects, they probably wouldn’t be eaten in Australia. The Aborigines are the primary diners on bugs down under and are fond of cooked moths. Honey-pot ants and wood-eating moth larvae are also favorites. When roasted the insects taste a little like almond although the practice has not really gained a foothold in the urban centres that house large populations of Aussies.
Other Countries That Enjoy Insect Protein
Japan and The Netherlands are the last two countries to make our list. Bugs have been a common dietary item in Japanese culture for centuries and are still featured items in many a restaurant. The Netherlands is fairly new to the concept of eating bugs. Insect breeding is commonplace in this country and the popularity of eating them is starting to sweep the nation. I have an eBook on the subject of edible insects. It’s called ‘The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein.” Order your copy today. My eBook is available at Amazon.
As you should know by now, I am a fan of cricket flour and cricket pasta. Although neither is readily available where we live in Canada, I am sure that once I am able to get my hands on a bag of cricket flour I’ll be able to convince my wife, Brenda to create something interesting in the kitchen with it. If you are not familiar with the term, cricket flour is essentially flour (white or whole wheat) that contains a mixture (often between 10 and 20-percent) of ground up crickets.
To get you inspired and thinking about the possibilities, here are four of the top cricket recipes I would really like to have Brenda make in our kitchen.
1 – Cricket Biscuits
If you are in the mood for something that contains edible insects and not just crickets, this is probably your best choice. Edible Insect Biscuits contains just 6 different ingredients but four of them are insect-related. There is cricket flour, cricket salt, roasted crickets and even roasted mealworms in the mix. Bake at 450-degrees for between 10 and 15-minutes and you’ve got yourself a tasty biscuit you can have with breakfast or just as a snack.
2 – Cricket Pancakes
Using a combination of three different types of flour, including cricket, coconut and buckwheat, this Cricket Pancake recipe is high in protein and pretty easy to make. What makes these delicious pancakes so different is that they are also gluten free. With just 20-minutes of prep required to mix the seven dry and five wet ingredients, and another 20-minutes on a griddle or in a frying pan, you could be eating these in no time.
3 – Cricket Buns
I am also quite fond of buns in my diet. This bugged out variation of a well-known bun recipe takes a traditional product and flips it on its ear. Cricket Buns contain nine ingredients, plus a couple of options. The flour ratio is 2 cups of white and 1 cup of cricket. Baking for 20-minutes at 400-degrees gets you a number of soft, chewy and tasty buns that you can even punch up in taste by adding optional cranberries or raisins.
4 – Cricket Cookies
Why have just ordinary cricket cookies when you can have Oatmeal Cookies with cricket flour? Oatmeal cookies happen to be one of my favourites and this insect twist just pumps up the protein value a notch or two. There are just eleven ingredients required including 1 ¼ cup of flour and a ¼ cup of cricket powder to get the full impact of this tasty and protein-packed edible insect. Baking at 325-degrees for 13 minutes gets you some groovy snacks.
Learn More About Edible Insects
Did these top cricket recipes get you thinking about the possibilities that come from the high protein of cricket flour? If you need to do some extra homework on the topic, you could check out my eBook on the subject. It’s called ‘The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein.” Order your copy today. My eBook is available at Amazon.
I know, eating insects may not appear to be the most appealing things to do with bugs, but there are some good reasons to at least consider the option. I’ve mentioned many of these before in previous blog posts but they bear repeating. Bugs and pretty good for you and here is a list of 7 reasons you should eat bugs.
1 – Protein Content
The numbers fluctuate, depending on the actual source but crickets are higher in protein than beef. That is, if you are comparing one to the other. I’m not suggesting you stop eating beef, but as a protein source, crickets are very concentrated. Crickets have roughly 65-percent protein where beef is closer to 50-percent.
2 – Concentration of Nutrients
Again, while you can still get your fill of other nutrients from a healthy diet, insect protein can save you some of that effort. In addition to a wide variety of amino acids, insect protein contains minerals and vitamins. Eating bugs will also put unsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids into your system.
3 – Low Fat Content
In a pound-for-pound comparison, insect protein contains little fat. The actual measurement is less than 5 grams of fat per serving. Most other traditional protein sources have considerably more fat. If you are trying to control your fat intake, crickets, mealworms and other insects give you a good alternative.
4 – Environmentally Friendly
When you take a look at the production costs associated with farming crickets versus cattle or pigs, there is a huge difference. Crickets take far less space, food, water and energy to produce any edible insect protein. Cattle, pigs and any other farm animal require more space, food, shelter and more.
5 – Various Dishes
Edible insects are edible is a number of different ways. They can be baked, roasted, boiled, fried and sautéed. My favorite way to eat them is ground up into flour where crickets can be used in protein bars and pasta. Other insect flour options include baked into breads, cookies, crackers and other baked goods.
6 – Abundantly Available
Depending on where you live in the world, there can be up to 300 different species of edible insects available. This compares to over 800 different breeds of cattle. However, anywhere on the planet insects are far more abundant that cattle. This is primarily due to the fact that 100 insects take less space than 100 cows.
7 – Tasty Treats
When you eat bugs you discover something very interesting. They have a nutty flavour that has a hint of chicken or shrimp. Depending on what you prepare them with, many edible insects will take on the taste of the other foods and ingredients. Although we still like beef, beef usually tastes like beef.
Find Out More About Edible Insects
Eating bugs may not have been something you would consider until now. For more information and a few recipes, why not check out my eBook on the subject? It’s called ‘The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein.” Order your copy today. My eBook is available at Amazon.
You know you are onto something when the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization starts promoting the same topic. The topic I’m referring to here is edible insects. It isn’t a recent report, but the UNFAO put a nice, shiny light on the subject when they announced to the rest of the world that there are well over 1,900 edible insect species on our planet. They also noted that hundreds of those are already being dined on in several countries. While I have continued to point out the benefits of eating bugs – protein, minerals, fibre and the good fats we need in our diet, this time around I want to do something different. The UN report listed the top eight edible insects and I want to share that information with you today.
1 – Beetles
Although there are several varieties of beetles, the ones most commonly eaten are june, dung, long-horned and the rhinoceros. Apparently if you roast them just right they can be munched in much the same manner as popcorn. Beetles have more protein than most other bugs.
2 – Butterflies/Moths
I would never have imagined these to be on this list but they are. The best time to enjoy butterflies or moths is when they are in their larval and pupal stages. It is at that time when they are loaded with protein and iron. In some countries they are eaten as supplements.
3 – Bees/Wasps
As much as I would rather let bees produce honey, they do provide an excellent protein source. They are best enjoyed in their immature stages – in egg, larval or pupal form. Bees apparently have a peanut taste while wasps have a flavour described as pine-nutty.
4 – Ants
This is one insect that is truly a superstar when it comes to edible insects. Just 100 grams of red ants contains 14 grams of protein, 48 grams of calcium, iron and other nutrients. They are a favourite snack item in many parts of the world and roast up nicely or are dipped in chocolate.
5 – Grasshoppers/Crickets/Locusts
What makes these hopping and flying insects so tasty is that they typically have a neutral flavour. This means that they will take on the flavour of whatever they are being prepared with. I’m a fan of crickets having enjoyed them in powder and pasta form (cricket flour).
6 – Flies/Mosquitoes
Although you may not consider these on your list of potential edible insects, they are a lot like crickets in that flies and mosquitoes will take on the flavour of something else. An example is if you harvest them from a water source, the insects will come with a fowl or fish flavour.
7 – Water Boatmen/Backswimmers
Again, not what I would have expected on this list but they do provide an interesting food source. The eggs laid by water boatmen and backswimmers are typically deposited on aquatic plant stems. They can be dried, removed from the plants and eaten. Expect fish flavours.
8 – Stinkbugs
Don’t let the stench from these little buggers fool you. They are filled with iodine and apparently have an apple flavour. Stinkbugs are also valuable for medicinal purposes as they have analgesic and anesthetic properties. That may cause you to think twice before flushing one down the drain.
Find Out More About Edible Insects
If eating insects is not one of the things you thought you would try, why not take a few minutes and explore the possibility further? It doesn’t have to be on your Bucket List but you could add my eBook to your list. It contains further details and recipes. Order your copy today. My eBook is available at Amazon.
Ever since I became interested in the possibilities that come from edible insects, I have seen the same basic lists that support this. In the research I did for my eBook on the topic, “The Foodie Guide to Farming Insects For Protein” I discovered verifications and much in the way of proof to support the lists. But what sort of things appear on these lists? Well, let’s take a look now.
1 – World Hunger
This tends to be either the Number One reason or it is often very close to the top of any list I have seen. The argument is that there are tons (some estimates range at up to 40 tons) of insects to every living human on the planet. The volume ensures that not a single person could go hungry.
2 – Sustainability
With the focus on things that don’t require a lot of attention in order to be useful, insects are a sustainable resource. They also live on the waste wheat chaff as opposed to the actual grain for food. This removes insects from competing with humans for food. That other protein source of meat eats grain.
3 – Environmentally-Friendly
Generally speaking, insect farming is pretty light on the environment. For example, you can farm them on a large scale and they won’t take up anywhere near the amount of real estate required to raise (and feed) other common protein sources. You can actually farm an ongoing supply in the space of a closet.
4 – Nutritional Value
The amount of protein and iron present in insects is high in comparison with the same amount of many other protein sources. Plus, insects also provide a wide variety of other nutritional elements that are either not present or are just trace amounts in other types of protein. Caterpillars and crickets top that list.
5 – Already On Menus
There are several countries in the world that have been dining on insects since before fast food restaurants and drive-thru windows were invented. These are not countries that do not have other food sources, either. In our part of the world we see these things as ‘delicacies’ but in actual fact, they are staples.
6 – Many Varieties
Sure, there are a number of insects that are not what you would want to munch on for any reason. However, there are well over one thousand different insects that are considered as safe for human consumption. This means that if you don’t like one particular kind, there are others to try until you do.
7 – Beyond The Ick Factor
It’s rather hard to form any kind of emotional attachment to a farm of a few hundred crickets. However, many other traditional farm animals raised for food do become pets or parts of families at times. With insects we are usually looking at them as pests so when it comes to eating them, it’s a bit easier.
Need More Proof?
If you are still pretty much on the fence about eating insects as a source of protein, why not order a copy of my eBook? In it I’ll share with you details on the insects you are already consuming without being aware of it. My eBook is available at Amazon.
I know that the eBook I published late in 2015 about crickets and insect protein has been the most popular title of mine. I see the sales figures regularly and can tell roughly that on Amazon it has continued to sell very well. What I couldn’t tell you is how many copies have been downloaded nor if this year is up or down from 2016. So I looked at the numbers.
Normally at the end of a year I’ll take stock of some of my content, but I never really worry too much about the stats because I am only comparing my sales figures to myself. It’s sort of the way I used to look at my times when I was a runner. I was only competing against myself so I had no real idea if my best time was really all that fast other than one of my own best times.
The eBook sales figures are the same to me. Well, earlier today I actually drew up charts and calculated the sales figures for 2017. I was not surprised to note that my “Foodie Guide to Farming Insects for Protein” was still my top seller. What I did not expect was how many issues were sold and how that measured up to total sales of my other five published titles.
My ‘cricket eBook’ out sold all of my other eBooks by a ratio of just over 2:1. I thought possibly it was closer than that since one of my other titles started to pick up steam this year. Then I decided to take a look at what the numbers were for 2016 and then compare that to this year. Once again, the ‘cricket eBook’ outperformed all of my other titles and by a greater margin.
In 2016 “The Foodie Guide to Farming Insects for Protein” outsold my other eBooks at a rate of 5:1. Looking at the numbers from 2016 to 2017, the total number of eBook sales jumped by almost double. The stats alone for the ‘cricket eBook’ saw an increase of 65-percent in sales. Regardless of the figures, the actual earnings are a completely different story altogether.
The way it works at Amazon is that they get a fairly good sized chunk of the action as a commission. They earn from each and every copy of an eBook that is purchased and downloaded. The percentage I receive fluctuates between 35 and 70-percent depending on the title and market it is being purchased in. It is far from a full-time wage but can be not bad.
As the eBooks are not my primary source of income I am not too concerned about the commission rates. That’s partly because as far as I’m concerned, having access to the largest online book selling platform at no charge other than a commission on sales, is a pretty fair deal. However, I will probably still add one or two more titles to my library in 2018.
I saw an online poll the other day that got me thinking. It asked vegetarians whether or not they would eat insect protein. I considered that a pretty interesting question. While I am not a vegetarian, I know what it is to be one and even have a strict vegan or two in my circle of acquaintances. The question to them would produce pretty much the same single word answer: No!
But the whole concept is what has me more intrigued than anything else. I know the argument from vegans/vegetarians is a good one. In general terms, if you view a cricket as an animal, and you have chosen to not eat anything animal-related in your diet, then clearly you would not dine on edible insects. I would not even attempt to sway that position one way or the other.
However, when that insect protein, and we’ll use crickets as our example, is in the form of flour, does that change things at all? For those who are still new to insect protein one form you can get it is in flour. Crickets are ground up and mixed into flour at either a 20-percent or 30-percent ratio of crickets to flour. The flour is then used for various food items.
I can see where some vegans and vegetarians may take a slightly different look at insect protein when it is in the flour form. Those who have chosen to stop eating animal products simply because of environmental or possible sustainability concerns may want to look at crickets a little closer. Crickets use 10-percent of the water required to produce the same weight of beef.
Crickets also require 1/16 of the feed required for the same amount of beef (pound for pound). On top of that, crickets do not produce methane as cattle do and they have a diet that is not exclusively the same one that humans use. With that being said, why is there no huge vegan/vegetarian groups supporting the move to insect protein?
That’s because the non-meat eaters are getting all the protein and nutrients they require through a plant-based diet. So really, there is no pressing need to explore options as long as plants continue to grow and produce the requirements of the vegan/vegetarian community. While I expected the argument to be far more controversial, I do see the logic from both sides.
I have no problem with eating cricket flour or products made with cricket flour (cricket pasta and cricket protein bars). But I am not a vegan/vegetarian, either. If you would like to know more about insect protein, check out the eBook I wrote on the topic titled, “The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein.” Download your copy today for details.
In the time that I have been studying edible insects as an alternative protein source, I have encountered a number of myths. Some of them are half-truths, others are based on misinformation and there are others that are just plain silly. In this article I am going to look at a few of the myths I have come across and will attempt to debunk them.
1 – Spiders Are Considered Insects
This is an easy one to confuse. Spiders, and even scorpions, are Arachnids, not insects. Arachnids are creepy, crawly creatures that have eight legs. Insects only have six legs plus two antennas. However, here’s probably where the confusion comes from. Spiders sometimes use the front pair of their legs in a way that makes them appear to look like antennas. Then, they will walk on their remaining six legs like an ant does. This trick spiders often use when they invade an ant colony. Plus, spiders can secrete an odour that closely resembles the smell of an ant.
2 – Insects Have No Value
They tend to be pests to most of us but did you know insects serve a number of important purposes in our lives? I’m not talking about them just being edible insects, either. Insects pollinate flowers, help fertilize soil and recycle plant life. If we did not have bees there would be no honey and flowers, plants and so many other forms of vegetation would not grow and produce foods for us and animals without pollination. Bees are not the only ones doing all the hard work, either. Several other varieties of winged insects spread pollen just by hopping from plant to plant searching for food.
3 – You Can’t Eat Insects
Well, if you have spent any time on this website you know that edible insects are a real thing. That’s because bugs are tasty. In fact, insects have been a dietary food source for centuries and are staples in some cultures today. Over 2.5-billion people on the planet have insects in their daily meal plans and there are no less than 1,900 different edible insect species sharing the planet with the rest of us mammals. Also, insects are high in protein and are simple to prepare as a dish. Crickets, for example, are also popular in protein bars and mixed in flour for pasta and baking.
Bug Myths Are Just That…Myths
There is no doubt that the thought of eating something that flies or has antennas or is hairy with several pairs of legs is not for everyone. For myself, I’m fond of cricket powder products (pasta and protein bars) and see that as a good way to consume edible insects and avoiding the ick factor. But before you venture into dining on bugs, do your homework and ignore the myths that exist on the subject. They have little in the way of facts to back them up. For more information on insect protein check out my eBook “The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein.”
My name is George Elliott. I have been in the Media Industry since 1978. I spent 23 years in Broadcasting and worked in a total of six different radio stations located in southern British Columbia Canada during my career. In 2000 I switched gears and moved into the Print Media Industry at a small town, local weekly newspaper. In 2004 I bought the paper and operated it with my wife, Brenda until July 2016 when we closed it. I launched a freelance web content and article writing business from my home in January 2014.