The Other, Other, Other White Meat
When you see a creepy crawling insect or annoying buzzing bug nearby, the last thing you probably think of is putting it in your mouth. In reality, you can eat almost any bug that’s sterile and not poisonous. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should just go snacking on any you happen across. You don’t know where it’s been, after all, and it probably won’t taste very good.
Still, there are several insects that have been and still are widely consumed by humans today, and for good reason. Bugs are incredibly high in nutrients and protein. They’re more nutritionally efficient per pound than any animal meat, and take less agricultural effort per pound to grow and harvest. And, believe it or not, they can be pretty tasty if prepared properly. Here are some of the more common and practical bug snacks to try:
Locusts, Grasshoppers, and Crickets
These are some of the world’s most-consumed bugs, even considered delicacies in some countries. They’re widespread, easy to harvest, and often quite large. After the insect is killed, the head, legs, and wings are removed. What’s left is a juicy, meaty abdomen. The bodies of these bugs are usually boiled and then prepared as part of another dish. They are very versatile and can be fried, sautéed, put into soups, and more.
Spiders can be eaten almost anywhere they are found. Typically only larger spiders, like tarantulas, are chosen—smaller ones don’t have enough edible mass to justify the effort. Since the legs and head are largely inedible, the only edible part is the torso. Spiders are often fire-roasted or grilled.
These bugs are famously included in some bottles of mezcal and tequila, and some people may only eat them on drunken dares. However, agave worms (and many other grubs) are very rich and nutritious. In Mexico they are eaten as a part of many everyday dishes. !
It can be hard to keep an open mind about eating bugs, but there are many advantages to doing so. Give it a try some time. Who knows, you might just like it!