Are Edible Insects the Next Superfood?
From fried hornets in Japan to red worms in Mexico, to fried termites in Africa and foods made with cricket flour right here in the US, edible insects are finding their way onto our dinner plates. Why? Edible insects are sustainable and nutritious, containing beneficial amounts of protein, calcium, iron, and zinc, and yes they are tasty. Mexico’s red worms are said to have a smoky flavor, while those who’ve tried them swear termites taste like bacon. Interested in learning more? Read on.
Sustainable and Plentiful
Not surprisingly, edible insects are plentiful, and consuming them is more ecologically friendly than say, beef. 100% of the insect is edible while just 40% of a cow is. They also produce much fewer greenhouse gases. The most widely eaten insects are grasshoppers, crickets, and locusts. That’s because we grow all their favorite foods and in large quantities. It’s thought that edible insects can be the answer to the world’s need for cheap, sustainable and easily obtainable food, but there are some obstacles to that. The largest is the “ick” factor. Some people, at least in the US and Europe, cannot stomach the idea of eating bugs. Some enterprising folks are answering that with powered bugs that can be mixed with other foods.
Another issue to be considered is how easy it is to obtain or farm them. To be truly sustainable, they have to be easily obtainable by all, regardless of location, income or skill level. Finally, laws and policy need to change. Currently, the FDA does not classify insects as human food, so they can only be used as a supplement in other foods for now.
Interested in trying some edible insects? It’s a great way to introduce extra protein into your diet. You may want to start with foods made with powdered products like cricket flour which is high in protein, gluten free and can be used in any recipe calling for regular flour. If you’re feeling a bit braver, venture out to an Asian or African market to find some insect delicacies. To start with though, try this great recipe, courtesy of Food & Wine Magazine with added cricket protein.
Cinnamon-Banana Bread with Cricket Protein
1 cup all purpose baking flour (or try Cricket Flours: All Purpose Baking Flour)
One teaspoon baking powder
One teaspoon cinnamon
One teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tbsp Cricket Flours: 100% Pure Cricket Powder
Three overripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup unsweetened soy milk
Two teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350F.
In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, xanthan gum and salt with a whisk. In a second bowl combine the bananas, oil, nectar, milk, and vanilla. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and blend until smooth.
Lightly grease an 8.5 x 4.5-inch loaf pan and line the sides and bottom with parchment paper. Pour in batter and back in the center of the oven for 45 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!
Edible insects are nutritious, plentiful and yes, tasty. It’s worth making an effort to get over the ick factor to give them a try. They may be a major food source in the future, and the answer to a looming climate-change caused food crisis. Start with powdered bug products and then move to eating whole bugs. We promise they are harmless and you just might find them delicious.
This guest article was brought to you by Lucy Dawson. If you would like to learn more about working with our Cricket Flours team or crafting your own recipes and articles using edible insects, let’s connect and chat.