When Rachael Young was a kid, the produce on her dinner plate came from her father’s garden. She was a stickler for looking over the greens to remove the hidden critters from her food. She didn’t want to encounter any bugs once the food traveled from fork to mouth.
Fast forward a couple of decades. From dedicated vegetarian, Young has become a dedicated bug eater, and she’s whipping up recipes she hopes will convince the rest of us to sample mealworms, crickets, and all other types of insect proteins. Eat Yummy Bugs is Young’s business, and it grew out of a love of her home state and a desire to conserve the land and the waterways.
Young wants people to ‘comfortably use insects in culinary creations’ because she considers the effect of meat production on the planet so deleterious. While she’s always had a vegetarian mind-set, in her home area of rural Vermont there’s a strong agricultural community that has viewed cows and other livestock as livelihood. Young wants to expand the agricultural norm to include bugs: in addition to being nutritious, Young considers them a renewable resource that reproduce exponentially and need much less water, food, and space than cows, chickens, and sheep.
“A lot of Westerners find that eating bugs is repulsive, and actually we’re the minority. More than 80 percent of the world eats insects. Insects are a viable solution to address world hunger! Bugs are superfoods: they are full of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fibers. ” – Rachael Young
Young thinks that mealworms and cricket flour may be the perfect gateway bugs for those squeamish about insect cuisine. An easy recipe, she says, is the banana-oat mealworm muffins with cricket flour below.
Banana-oat Mealworm Muffins with Cricket Flour
2 cups cricket flour
2 cups oats
2 1/2 t baking powder
1 cup raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
three small, ripe bananas
1/4 cup hazelnut milk (or milk of choice)
1/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup toasted mealworms*
*Young uses frozen mealworms from World Entomophagy and dry fries them in a pan on the stove top (no oil). For the topping, dry fry the mealworms and coconut together.
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup toasted coconut
1/4 cup toasted mealworms
1/2 T butter, softened
2 T brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a 12 cup muffin tin with a bit of coconut oil. Combine flour, oats, raw sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Using blender, whisk or kitchen mixer of choice, combine mashed banana, egg whites, hazelnut milk and coconut oil. Pour wet mixture slowly into dry mixture and slowly stir until just evenly saturated, add toasted mealworms. Fold in leftover wet mixture.
To prepare the topping: stir together the oats, coconut, mealworms, butter, and brown sugar. Pour muffin batter into muffin tins, and top with oat mixture, and bake until golden brown, checking after 12 minutes. Enjoy!
Article by A.K. Streeter
Photo: Eat Yummy Bugs