Creepy and crawly as they may be, insects can also be…tasty?
All around the world—even near Long Island—eating insects is commonplace! With millions of insects on the planet (around 1,700 of which are completely edible!), it’s only fitting that over 80% of the world’s population chows down on entomological entrees. But, we get it—you don’t want bugs in your house, so why would you want them in your dinner? Here’s a few reasons why people around the world choose to munch on edible bugs.
Benefits of Chowing Down on Edible Insects
Aside from sheer availability, insects are incredibly protein-dense. Crickets in particular are also rich in healthy fats, calcium, iron, and fiber, making them a healthy alternative to animal proteins like beef and chicken. Insects are also low in calories, and their prebiotic fiber benefits gut health and digestion. Cricket protein is considered a “complete protein,” meaning it has all the essential branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) the human body needs for muscle development.
Aside from their nutritional benefits, eating insects is a more sustainable alternative to traditional animal meats. Farming insects requires minimal land and water, and produces around one hundred times less greenhouse gas emissions than beef cattle. Entomo Farms states, “If, over the span of a year, a family of four ate one meal a week using insect protein, they would save the earth 650,000 litres of fresh water.”
Insects reproduce quickly; female crickets lay up to 1,500 eggs in less than a month (compared to months of gestation for cows). Insects, too, are more efficient at converting energy. While warm-blooded vertebrates use a significant amount of energy just to stay warm, insects are cold-blooded by nature, using less energy overall.
If you’re looking to try some edible insects for yourself, crickets are a great “jumping off” point! Here’s some cricket cuisine you can easily try:
If you were picturing edible insects as whole, leggy insects that you have to put in your mouth to reap the benefits of, that’s not the case! Cricket flour is an easy way to get started with eating insects. Often called cricket powder, too, cricket flour is made up of crickets that were dry-roasted in the oven, then milled, leaving a soft, flour-like mixture, perfect for all of your insect recipes. Cricket flour has a mild, slightly nutty taste that can be worked into everyday recipes like soups, smoothies, salad dressings, dips, and baked goods for a boost of protein.
Chocolate Covered Crickets
If you’re craving something sweet, you can swap your typical dessert for some chocolate covered crickets! Chocolate covered crickets are rich in protein, and are exactly what they claim to be…oven roasted crickets covered in a delicious chocolate coating.
While these are a unique and sustainable dessert to eat or serve, maybe warn your dinner guests first! 😉
Edible insects near Long Island are pretty easy to come by! There are quite a few restaurants throughout New York City servin’ up gourmet bugs on the daily, but you can also whip up some cricket tacos pretty easily in your own kitchen.
Using a recipe from The Bug Bible, all you’ll need is around 50 large crickets that were raised for human consumption (this is important!), along with some common taco fixings. In less than 20 minutes, you can dine on an entomological entree of your own!
Ready to Put Edible Bugs on the Menu?
According to Global Market Insights, the worldwide market for edible insects was worth $112 million in 2019, and is projected to reach more than $1.5 billion by 2026. Whether you’re looking for a more sustainable alternative to traditional animal protein, seeking new flavors, or simply feeling adventurous, edible insects may be just the bite you’re looking for!