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.
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.