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Banana Worm Bread (& Other Insect Recipes)

Banana Worm Bread (& Other Insect Recipes)

Cricket pies, fried grasshoppers and mealworm quiche: Welcome to the new culinary delights. Or so hopes Arnold van Huis, an entomology professor in Wageningen, the Netherlands. Van Huis is working to bring a range of entomological appetizers to the market.

Why should we eat insects?
Arnold van Huis: “While the world population is growing and our global wealth is advancing, meat consumption is rising dramatically. Currently, 70 percent of farmland is being used for meat production. If this trend continues, it will prove unsustainable. Moreover, livestock is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, including methane and nitrous oxide. Insects have a much lower environmental burden, while their nutritional value measures up to chicken or beef.”

Don’t they taste awful?
“That depends on how you prepare the dish. I’m not so wild about cakes made using crushed flies from East Africa–a couple of which I have at home–but sautéed crickets in a warm chocolate dip make a great snack.”

Isn’t it primitive to eat insects?
“It’s quite normal for most of the world. In tropical countries, people don’t eat caterpillars, beetle larvae, grasshoppers and termites because they don’t have a choice but because they taste good. Plus insects are high in protein and have essential fatty acids and important vitamins. Which is why food programs in developing countries should increase their focus on insects. Currently, vegetable consumption is emphasized, but it’s much more efficient to get nutrients from animals. Because traditional meat is often too expensive, insects could be a very good alternative.”

Isn’t the psychological barrier in the West simply too great?
“The first time you bite into a grasshopper might be a little ‘hard to swallow.’ But there are ways to handle this. Insects can be ground industrially so they’re less recognizable, just as a filet doesn’t really resemble a particular animal. There are some 1,400 edible insects, which can enrich and diversify our food supply.”

Banana Worm Bread
Compliments of Iowa State University Entomology Club

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup dry-roasted army worms

Directions:
Mix together all ingredients. Bake in greased loaf pan at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.

 

Mealworm Fried Rice
Compliments of Iowa State University Entomology Club

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. chopped onions
  • 4 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 c. minute rice
  • 1 c. cooked mealworms

Directions:
Scramble egg in a saucepan, stirring to break egg into pieces. Add water, soy sauce, garlic and onions. Bring to a boil. Stir in rice. Cover; remove from heat and let stand five minutes.

 

Rootworm Beetle Dip
Compliments of Iowa State University Entomology Club

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • 1/2 cup reduced calorie mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dill weed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Beau Monde
  • 1 cup dry-roasted rootworm beetles

Directions:
Blend first 3 ingredients. Add remaining ingredients and chill.

 

Ant Brood Tacos
Compliments of EatBug.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter or peanut oil
  • 1/2 pound ant larvae and pupae
  • 3 serrano chilies, raw, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Cumin, to taste
  • Oregano, to taste
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • Taco shells, to serve

Directions:
Heat the butter or oil in a frying pan and fry the larvae or pupae. Add the chopped onions, chilies, and tomato, and season with salt. Sprinkle with ground pepper, cumin, and oregano, to taste. Serve in tacos and garnish with cilantro. (Not living in an area exceptionally prolific with ants, I have never been able to try this recipe. But it sounds perfectly delicious! I found it in ‘Creepy Crawly Cuisine’, an excellent recipe book.)

By Marco Visscher, Ode Magazine (The Intelligent Optimist)

Read more: Food, Health, ,

By Marco Visscher, Ode Magazine (The Intelligent Optimist)

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Ode, the magazine for Intelligent Optimists, is an international independent journal that publishes positive news, about the people and ideas that are changing our world for the better.

88 comments

+ add your own
10:36AM PDT on Jul 22, 2014

Thanks but couldn't eat

5:19AM PST on Feb 27, 2014

I wish I could bring myself to eat ant larvae as there is a plague of them at my place.

5:06PM PDT on Jul 2, 2013

The -first law of ecology is that -everything is related -to every thing -else-Barry Commoner biological/environmentalist.--in other words you would be taking the food that another species depends on for food.

8:22AM PDT on Jun 6, 2013

Too many people...prisons = soylent green, the recipes are endless

1:56PM PDT on May 31, 2013

one day I'll be brave and try the banana worm bread :)

4:01PM PDT on Apr 2, 2013

Eeeks. I'll pass until necessary.

5:40AM PDT on Apr 1, 2013

Why?????????????????????????????????????????????????

6:43PM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

This is not going to 'fly' in the West. There's no difference in my mind in eating insects or meat. But most people who are accustomed to buying their dead animals in neatly wrapped packages probably won't see it that way.

8:21AM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

Nup - I can't even read about it- grossssss! :-)

4:51AM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

It all makes good logical sense but not for me I'm afraid. Even my meat-loving pets won't eat insects, apart from the occasional moth, and I think that's more for the thrill of the chase than anything else.

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