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Insects for Food-Prep. 101

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Many peoples around the world eat insects without batting a lash, gagging or thinking of childhood dares.They eat insects as snacks or main dishes as an abundant source of protein, healthy fats and minerals. Another plus is raising and harvesting insects for human consumption requires much fewer resources than livestock and releases much less greenhouse gases. There are more than 1,900 edible insects on Earth but I will be focusing on three easily accessible ones in this Instructable. This technique works well with many insects though. This Instructable is designed to show you the very first step in preparing insects to get them cleaned and cooked. How you prepare them after is completely up to your creative self.

Crickets
Mealworms
Waxworms


 
 
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Step 1: Basic Starting Point

Picture of Basic Starting Point
With live insects, it is best to put them in the refrigerator for at least an hour or until you are ready to use them. This will immobilize them by slowing their metabolism. This helps in the collecting and cleaning process. If you prefer, you can place them in the freezer for an hour which will kill them and then you can proceed without fear of reanimation.

I like to make stocks. Stocks of any kind, to infuse or to use for soups. You can use plain salted unflavored water if you like but why not give them a little extra flavor. Depending on what you are using them for, sweet or savory stocks.

In these examples, I used a mushroom stock, a persimmon- Keffir lime leaf and orange zest stock and a basic salted water bath.
After cleaning your insects, which i will show you how to do in the following pages you will put your insects in the boiling water or stock for one to two minutes.

Crickets - 2 minutes
Mealworms- 1 minute
Waxworms- 1 minute
boxofpoo2 months ago

Having traveled the Far East extensively I have personally eaten and enjoyed many species of insects and worms which are commonly sold in street stalls, night markets, and in some restaurants. Fried crickets are particularly edible and are good accompaniment to sticky rice and as beer snack. I truly hope more people in the West get over the yuk factor and help make this mainstream. Thank you rimamonsta for "tastefully" making this instructable.

rimamonsta (author)  boxofpoo2 months ago

Thank you for the comment. I really appreciate the feedback. I, unfortunately have not yet traveled the far east but intend to one day. It's funny, I actually had the yuk factor too and that is one of the reasons I started experimenting... to get over it.

MrFrancis2 months ago
Thanks for posting this info. Being that the bugs are low on the food chain means less chance of contamination. I have been all over Asia and resisted due to my own gross factor. You are right about preparedness.
cfs05272 months ago

Intriguing... I'm not too sure I can get over the yuck factor but I have inadvertently eaten my share of bugs on long summer bicycle rides

lbrewer422 months ago

BTW - I have seen where some crickets have tapeworms - seriously. I have seen some stepped on and a long white worm comes out - amazingly long. I guess they are tapeworms. This really adds to the ick factor when i think about eating them. I know if I was starving it would likely mean nothing though.

Asa J lbrewer422 months ago

Probably not a literal tapeworm

In popular science they just had a short blurb about parasitic nematodes living in ants. Super creepy. Then again (I'm googling it....... still googling......) trichinella that lives in bacon is also a nematode. We forgive bacon it's nasty parasitic little secret, why not insects? Heck, wrap the bugs in bacon and it should be all good!

rimamonsta (author)  lbrewer422 months ago

Yup, that is YUK for sure, especially cause you need to cook meat with tapeworms very well to kill them and cooking a cricket is quick. Thanks for that information. I did not know that was a thing. I'll have to look into that.

I found a Youtube video of exactly what I am talking about:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Njxv1nPiKEk

yuck!

Now of course if it was cooked long enough it probably would just mean more protein - the parasite become the prey LOL!
kracken422 months ago

Yum! Looks great!

RedKnight572 months ago

Haven't tried these worms yet, but have had roasted crickets with lime & chili,, while drinking beer. Pretty tasty, have had roasted grasshoppers, we just speared them and roasted them over coals. have also had them roasted in an oven until crisp, then dipped in honey. They had a mild corn nut taste to them.. Good job on the instructable.

rimamonsta (author) 2 months ago

my pleasure. heehee...

Branebot2 months ago

Love this idea and would love to try this...

Keep up the great work!

rimamonsta (author)  Branebot2 months ago

Thank you

-r

Eromanga2 months ago

Cool instructable - thanks.

rimamonsta (author)  Eromanga2 months ago

Thank you

mdeblasi12 months ago

I think my bug eating will begin and end with shrimp & crawdads.
And lobster

definitely lobster.

rimamonsta (author)  mdeblasi12 months ago

mmmm lobster. so yummy.

bbudd2 months ago

Actually the mealworms are much better fried in olive oil with a little garlic and salt .

Here in Thailand eat insects quite often. Most are quite tasty.

rimamonsta (author)  bbudd2 months ago

mealworms are pretty yummy. I haven't tried them fried yet because I'm trying to stay away from the fried insect thing. But I did just make a mealworm Fench bread (gluten free) that came out pretty darn delicious. And honestly, baked mealworms are really good snacks. thanks for the input. Maybe i'll try a garlic dish next. thanks. -r

Alienjones2 months ago

I've always believed that you'll eat anything if you are hungry enough. Somehow I don't think that applies to me but you never know until you are put to the test. all I can do is hope I never am!

rimamonsta (author)  Alienjones2 months ago

True, and I have a feeling if you were hungry enough you might try to eat wet leather. Just saying. But baked bugs are better than wet leather. I promise. Kinda nutty. Kinda mushroomy like. thanks for the comment. -r

jayb12 months ago

During World War 2 the sick prisoners In Changi (Singapore) were nursed back to health by eating Cockroaches. The juice was squeezed out of them (the white stuff) & spoon fed to the sick & dying. Pure protein. There are many, many men alive today because of an Australian Doctors common sense & knowledge.

rimamonsta (author)  jayb12 months ago

That just penetrated my Yuck tolerance field ( mostly cause of the squish factor), though I have so much respect for that knowledge of healing. Similar to how people used young coconut water for blood transfusions in the second World War. I love resourcefulness and learning weird and interesting facts. Thanks for sharing -r

Sparticles2 months ago

Here in Belgium they have now (finally) legally approved 10 kinds of insects for mainstream consumption.
And since they are becoming more and more available at reliable sources, it's good to see some nice recipes here on instructables.

Could you please list which 10 they are? I've Googled and can't find them. What I did find out was that one should not eat insects that are necrophagous (eat dead flesh) or coprophagous (eat manure). OK insects were crickets, cicadas, ants, grasshoppers, scorpions, tarantulas, rhino. beetle grub, and these worm larvae: meal-, wax-, mopani-, silk-, bamboo-. And that cooking destroyed 40% of the nutrition.

rimamonsta (author)  nanaverm2 months ago

I can't wait to experiment with scorpions. Yes, cooking does destroy some nutrients, but that is the case with most of what we eat. I will be experimenting with straight dehydration of insects in the future as to keep all the nutrients present .

Apparently there isn't a list to be found in English, but here is one in Dutch and French.
http://www.afsca.be/levensmiddelen/insecten/

In English, the list is respectively:

House cricket
African migratory locust
Morioworm
Mealworm
Buffaloworm or lesser mealworm
Wax moth caterpillar
American desert locust
Banded cricket
Lesser wax moth caterpillar
Silkworm
shyrell2 months ago

Great ible! I would get grossed out watching people eat insects on tv programs. But your instructable makes me want to try them. I did not see cleaning instructions for the crickets. Do you rinse them as well?

shyrell shyrell2 months ago

Never mine. I just found it! Silly me. Sometimes I just read too fast! :)

rimamonsta (author)  shyrell2 months ago

Thanks for the comment. I'll be posting recipes in the few days for sweet and savory next step insect cooking if you're interested. I've already posted a Berry Ganache with ginger orange glazed crickets that were a hit at the work place. By the way, I do the same thing...reading right past stuff. Happy eating.

-r

erkam2 months ago
dont eat bugs
rimamonsta (author)  erkam2 months ago

Oh come on. Can I peer pressure you into it?

tjk19392 months ago

I have an idea, you eat the bugs, I'll eat the beef.

rimamonsta (author)  tjk19392 months ago

You got it. But really, I like variety. I also like options ( like when sh?t hits the fan ) and how to best prepare those options. But hey, we all have our tastes, and bugs aren't yours. I get it.

Berkana2 months ago

It appears that you are not purging their before cooking them for food. Isn't it the case that if you shock live crickets and meal worms in hot water, they evacuate their colons? If this is the case, it would seem to me that you'd want to purge the crickets of the junk in their colons before cooking them.

rimamonsta (author)  Berkana2 months ago

You are absolutely right. I forgot to mention that. I did fast them for about 30 hours before I prepared them. I will revise my Instructables. Thank you for taking notice.

-R

(I was watching "Dirty Jobs" on the Discovery channel when Mike Rowe visited a suet bird food company that used meal worms in their formula. The guy put a pillow case full of meal worms into a large stockpot of hot water, and the water quickly turned brown from all the bug excrement. He explained that the live worms evacuate their bowels when heat shocked. This is where I heard about this phenomenon.)

Does fasting them for as little as 30 hours ensure they purge their bowels?
zack_man8882 months ago
Thanks a lot for the well designed instructable. I have always been put off by the concept of eating bugs, but I've always been curious what they taste like. If my friends are up to the challenge, I think I might try it, it does look good the way you prepared it.
rimamonsta (author)  zack_man8882 months ago

Thank you my dear, that was just the prep for other recipes. I just finished a gluten free mealworm flour French bread with porcini mushroom ghee that I will be posting in the next few days. I will say, that being put off by eating bugs was why I started experimenting with eating insects. I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised.

thanks for the comment.-r

Laminarin2 months ago

Another method to separate meal worms from their molts, poop, and dead brethren is to bait them with an apple. This works particularly well if you have a big culture of them growing in a tub. Place a paper towel or anything else clean that they can crawl on in the container and put an apple slice in the middle. Wait for an hour or so then pull out the paper towel and the apple which should be covered with worms. Repeat until you have enough worms. This method can take some time but requires little work on your part and gut loads your worms with tasty apple.

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