To date I have self-published a total of seven eBooks. Out of all of my titles the best selling one happens to be the one I have affectionately called my ‘cricket eBook.’ It currently has outsold all of my other eBooks combined. I can pretty much expect to see at least a couple copies of it being sold monthly. It just seems to have a life of its own and it keeps growing and growing.
This month, January 2019, it is tied for the most copies of my eBooks sold. My most recent title, “How To Start Podcasting – The Beginner’s Guide” has sold exactly the same number of copies in the first 30 days of 2019 as “The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein.” However, the ‘cricket eBook’ still has sold more copies of any of my self-published titles.
It was in October 2015 when I published my ‘cricket eBook’ and at the time there were no other guides like it on Amazon. Or at least I couldn’t find anything else about edible insects posted there. Now, there are several different eBooks that explore the subject rather well. My title was intended to be a simple guide on why insect protein could be an alternative.
One of the interesting reoccurring themes I found when researching the topic was that insect protein could ultimately eliminate world hunger. I have tried very hard to sidestep the political ramifications and focused on the dietary part of the equation. With insects a common part of the cuisine in many parts of the world, turning to insect protein wouldn’t be much of a leap.
Or you would think so.
What I like to refer to as the ‘ick factor’ continues to plague this issue. I’ll even admit that while chomping on a chocolate-coated cricket may not be my first choice, cricket flour I have no problem with. The same goes for cricket pasta and protein bars that contain cricket powder. It’s not hard for me to swallow any of those products – pun intended – as there is no ick involved.
At least there isn’t in my mind.
Even my wife, Brenda enjoyed dining on the same cricket products I have sampled. I think that’s because there is no real evidence that those dark specks that appear in the pasta, flour or powder look anything like a cricket. The ground up crickets that are the main protein sources in these products resemble ground peppercorns or any other speck you’d find in these foods.
This is why I think edible insects have a chance at becoming a logical protein source in many parts of the world. They look harmless and nothing like insects when pulverized to powder form. As for the interest in my eBook, I think there is still a fair deal of curiosity related to the whole idea of eating bugs. I’m talking about eating them intentionally and not as part of a dare.
Regardless, there continues to be interest in edible insects as my eBook sales indicate.
If you have read many of my blogs here you’ll know that I talk a lot about edible insects. My preferred one is the cricket simply because I have had experience with cricket flour in food products. But there are also some rather wacky facts about these little chirpers that you may not know about. Possibly after reading this, you’ll wish you hadn’t bothered once you read the things I have discovered about this unusually loud little flying critter.
1 – Cricket Fighting Is A Thing In China
In recent decades, the Chinese have revived the once dead art of cricket fighting. There are several prize fighters in the ranks and the owner of one of these wonderful sports specimens will take great care of their charge. Winning fighting crickets dine on specially formulated diets of worms and highly nutritious assorted other meals. We somehow suspect that once a champion starts to have a losing streak, it becomes part of a ceremonial dinner marking the end of a career.
2 – The Voice of A Cricket Has Symbolic Meaning
Again, thanks to the Chinese, crickets are cherished. Well, those with the best singing voices. These superstars are housed in intricately beautiful homes that are made of bamboo. In fact, a proud owner of such a singer will have the cricket and cricket home on display to show how much they appreciate the voice of the insect. By the way, in China, a singing cricket in your home is a sign of good luck and the possibility of impending wealth.
3 – Breeding Is Big Business In The United States
Leave it to the Americans to jump on something like this. The breeding of crickets for the pet industry is a multimillion dollar industry. When we say they are bred for the pet industry, crickets are typically used as a food source – for reptiles. Some warehouse-sized facilities can produce upwards of 50-million of the chirping buggers at a time. One the other side of the coin, a cricket virus a few years ago did impact the industry but it has since bounced back.
4 – The Average Cricket Knows a Lot Of Different Songs
As it turns out, the original jam musicians could easily have been the cricket. That’s because this edible insect happens to have a whole lot of songs known by heart. Each song also serves a specific purpose. For example, there is a song that a cricket will chirp when it is seeking female company. There is a song that will announce that a female has entered into a partnership with a specific male. There are even songs used to defend territory when other males arrive on scene.
If You Are Interested In More About Edible Insects
I have written an eBook on the subject. It is titled “The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein” and with it you will learn how to start and maintain your own cricket farm in the space of a small closet. My eBook is available from Amazon.
By now you should know that I am actively promoting the benefits of insect protein. If edible insects were not a dietary factor in many parts of the world, it probably wouldn’t matter. However, the fact remains that the human body requires protein to maintain health. Fortunately there are several different sources of protein available to use on Earth.
But how much water does it take to produce each of them?
I mention water simply because it is a precious commodity. I remember several years ago attending a meeting of a local valley-wide group that struggled for the better part of a day to define its mandate. The common thread that ran from one end of the valley to the other was pavement. A major highway provides us with access to and from our region. However, there was – and still is – another more important thread that binds us all together here. It happens to be a body of water in the form of a river.
The mandate eventually became a focus on preserving the quality of the water that passes through the valley. We knew back then that water equates to life and that all living things need it in order to survive. It is also why there is such a focus on water conservation at certain times of the year here. You probably also live somewhere where sprinkling regulations exist and these are meant to keep from depleting the supply of water to your community.
It is with water conservation in mind that I want to share with you a list of comparables.
The question is this:
How much water is required to produce 100 grams of different kinds of protein?
1 – Beef, 2,200 litres of water
Cattle top the list and actually require more water to produce 100 grams of protein than all the other types on the balance of this list combined. It is a massive amount of water when you start to look at ranches with hundreds and thousands of head of cattle. Yes, I still eat hamburgers and red meat but not nearly as much as I used to.
2 – Eggs, 313 litres of water
Surprisingly, chickens – laying hens to be precise – consume a fair deal of water during the course of their lives. For 100 grams of protein from eggs to be produced, 313 litres of water was required.
3 – Soy, 180 litres of water
Ground crops are notorious for using up a lot of water in order to grow and produce enough come harvest time. While soy is considered a great protein alternative to beef, especially for those who are shifting their diets to plant-based foods, a fair deal of water is still needed to produce 100 grams of protein. The upside is that this is considerably less than what is needed for the same amount of beef protein.
4 – Crickets, 1 litre of water
The winner here happens to be my preferred source of insect protein, the cricket. Farming crickets takes far less space than all the other sources of protein on this list. That is also why these little critters require far less water.
Need More Information?
For additional details on the benefits of crickets and edible insects, why not download my eBook on the subject? Titled “The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein” you will learn how to start and maintain your own cricket farm in the space of a small closet. My eBook is available from Amazon.
It was on October 15, 2015 when I published my third eBook “The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein.” In the three years it has been available online, it has outsold all of my other eBooks combined. I currently have six titles published. In fact this month alone I sold more copies of it than any other month this year, other than March. I sold twice as many copies in October as I did in September. So, what makes this such a popular eBook for me?
I’m just going to take a few guesses here.
1 – The Timing
I have to admit that when I wrote the eBook I had never heard of such a thing as eating insects or raising insects as a food source. I knew that live crickets were a food source for various reptiles and that you could order them from your local pet store. I also knew edible insects were a common dietary feature in some foreign countries but did not know the popularity of this was moving into North America. So I credit the timing as helping with sales. Plus, when I published it, it was the only eBook on the topic available at Amazon. This is no longer the case.
2 – The Promotion
Still a little bit related to timing, I had no idea there was such a thing as World Edible Insect Day. It happens to be October 23 each and every day. I published my ‘edible insect’ eBook on October 15. I used World Edible Insect Day as a launching pad – totally as a fluke as I only learned about it once I had published the eBook. So I used Twitter to promote free downloads of the eBook for a few days either side of World Edible Insect Day. It worked as I had a massive amount of copies downloaded during that short promotion.
3 – The Topic
Well, obviously there has to be something worthy buried somewhere within the topic of edible insects. The research I did on it convinced me that there is promise in delivering high protein food through simpler means. If that translates to massive cricket farms filling up the countryside, okay. Mind you, I am still fond of a burger every so often so I don’t see my diet changing all that much. However, if we are talking about cricket flour, now you have my attention. This is currently my preferred way to enjoy edible insects.
To Find Out More…
If this has piqued your interest any on insect protein, all you have to do is download a copy of my eBook to gets the details. In it I tell you about the nutritional value of the most popular of the edible insects. I also describe how you can start farming crickets in the space of a small closet. Plus, there are a few recipes included to get you started. I knew I was on to something when I started working on the eBook. Now I am convinced that I have discovered a way to keep protein in my diet and do so within a much smaller carbon footprint.
I thought it might be fun to turn the tables around slightly with this blog. This website is promoting my eBook on edible insects so I thought that since it is all about bugs, I would take that as my cue. So, this time around I am going to explore some of the things that actually bug me. If you know me at all, you probably think of me as an even-tempered, patient individual. In fact, I am but there are a few things that make me shake my head in disbelief.
Here are a few of them.
1 – The Dead ATM
Nothing puts a crimp into my day quite like running into the bank to find that the ATM is either not in service or otherwise not working. This happened to me earlier today. Luckily it was during normal business hours and I was able to get my banking done by seeing a teller. I usually find myself at an ATM during business hours these days, so that was an easy one to remedy.
2 – The No Signal Driver
I’m a bit of a freak when it comes to rules of the road. One I am a real stickler on is the use of signal lights. I’ll even signal when I’m pulling into our yard and no one is behind me. I’ve even been known to signal as I leave our yard. What bothers me is following someone who suddenly darts out of the way without a signal. I can’t read minds and couldn’t see that parking spot.
3 – The Late One
I have always tried my best to meet appointments on time. In fact, I am typically 15-minutes early to anything I have to be at. It has annoyed others around me but as far as I’m concerned, if I have put this much effort into being at whatever the appointment is, I should receive at least attention that would be similar in fashion. When people are habitually late, it bugs me.
4 – The Waster
I’ll admit that I don’t visit smorgasbords or salad bars as much as I once did. However, when I do indulge, I carefully execute an eating plan. I will ‘scope’ the choices first then I will choose a few at first. I am always careful to put only as much on my plate as I know I will eat. I’ll go back for more this way. Those who overload their plates and leave excess behind bother me.
5 – The Phone Guy
Telemarketers have a pretty rough life. They phone people at random and get a lot of abuse. I think some of that abuse comes to those who won’t listen to the people they are calling. I don’t care if my Windows needs repair and you think you have to access my computer to do that. I’m not an idiot. The third caller today with the same story is one, that’s for sure.
What Gets Under Your Skin?
We all have them. You know, those little pet peeves that ruffle our feathers from time to time. I don’t have many and I guess when you really look at it, mine are pretty minor. That’s why I don’t get too worked up about them. So, what pet peeves get your attention?
If you have spent any time on this website you already know that I am fond of crickets. I am also a firm believer that insect protein is good for you and crickets happen to be my insect of choice. I have enjoyed a few products that include crickets as part of the ingredients and am always on the lookout for more interesting cricket laden products. If you know of any, let me know! Anyway, I thought it might be fun to look at some cricket fun facts this time around.
1 – The Chill Affects The Chirp
Crickets are insects. This means that they are cold blooded. In other words, in order to chirp, crickets need to be in warm weather. The cooler it gets, the frequency of the chirping is reduced. Warm weather gives these little guys the energy to chirp all they want.
2 – Did He Say The Chirpers Were Guys?
Yup. I actually did say that. The male cricket is the only one that does any chirping. By the way, the whole idea behind chirping is to attract a female cricket. Call it a social network without the internet. Chirping gets the word out that a male is seeking some female company.
3 – There’s The Rub
Since we’ve revealed that it is the male cricket that does all the chirping, do you know how he does it? If you guessed that he makes the sound with his mouth you would be wrong. The male cricket rubs his wings together in such a way that it produces a chirping sound.
4 – No Need To Set The Alarm
Crickets are generally nocturnal. This is why you normally hear them – and remember, it’s just the males you are hearing – at night and usually at dusk. Don’t forget, if you are hearing the males out there, there is going to be at least as many females outside as well.
5 – That’s A Big Family
A female cricket can lay up to 200 eggs at a time. They look very much like grains of rice and if you are farming crickets indoors, you have to remove the eggs as soon as you see them. By using a separate incubation container you save them from getting eaten by adult crickets.
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.
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.