37 Edible Insects That You Usually Won't Thought Of Eating
Relax! I can only imagine how uneasy you must feel about the thought of having to improvise a meal from creepy-crawlies. Not to worry. As unattractive as most insects may be, some of them are actually edible and even tasty! Hard to believe right?
Eating insects, or Entomophagy, which is the human use of insects as food, is actually a common culture in most parts of the world.; albeit more so in some countries. Although considered taboo in some societies, Entomophagy is a modern practice in numerous regions of Latin America, Africa and Asia, among others.
As a matter of fact, most of the world’s nations have collectively consumed over 1000 species of insects. I’m guessing that these edible bugs can’t be too bad after all! Let’s take a look at some of these edible insects which not only taste nutty or like cinnamon, but are quite nutritious as well.
These insects are one of the few eaten in the U.S, and are widely consumed in China both as adult and in their younger state. They are said to be quite tasty and have a nutty flavour when cooked. Definitely one I wouldn’t mind trying!
Crickets are the most frequent insect to be blended with food. They are either dried and made into a powder (cricket flour), which is now produced by various U.S companies, or eaten as a snack after being soaked, cleansed and deep-fried.
Go ahead, replace your spaghetti with these wiggly wonders! A rather unappealing thought isn’t it? Earthworms actually contain plenty of nutrients and can safely be consumed after being purged to get rid of their dirt, and dried, if their sliminess is an issue.
Although not all species of Grasshopper are edible, those which are, are eaten in a variety of dishes in Mexico, served in some Chinese food markets, and also consumed in Indonesia.
An unlikely choice for someone who is rightfully repulsed by this creature’s frightening appearance. Some centipedes of a strikingly large size are usually skewed and grilled, as well as deep fried in China, to be eaten.
Insects usually eaten in their larval form, bees (mostly stingless), are said to have a taste resembling that of bacon when eaten in adult form. A bit different from the taste you and I would have imagined, given their diet of honey and pollen.
I would have to say “absolutely no way!”. However, in societies other than those of Western Culture, cockroaches are eaten after being boiled, grilled, and sautéed amongst other methods. Hats off to those willing to snack on them!
8. Jewel Beetles
Identified by their variety of bright colours, the Buprestidae, or Jewel Beetle, are usually eaten in throughout China, Africa and regions of Southeast Asia. They are edible as either larvae or in adult stage.
9. Giant Water Bugs
As its name suggests, these bugs are typically large in size and are mainly found in freshwater streams and ponds. Given their scary appearance, they are a popular choice by tourists visiting Thailand markets.
I feel like even eating this could get me stung! Hornets are actually safely included in a variety of dishes, mainly prepared in Japan and China. They are edible in both larval and pupal form.
A good source of protein, caterpillars are normally prepared as an edible in South Africa by bushmen, and are seen as a delicacy in Chinese culture. I can’t say it’s one I’m eager to try!
Admittedly an intimidating food choice, scorpions on sticks are served in Beijing night markets, and fried scorpion is actually a traditional dish in Shandong. It produces a flavour similar to shrimp or slightly nutty.
Fried spider, a delicacy in Cambodia, consists of a species of tarantula called “a-ping” in Khmer. They are hunted for their protein source by people whose diet mainly consists of solely rice.
Who would have guessed that these common pests are actually filled with protein that is beneficial to the human diet?Termites are consumed in many cultures throughout the world, and are considered to be tasteful with a nutty flavour.
These typical nuisances are an easy catch if you’re anywhere near a pond or lake. They are also easy to cook and nutritious. An ideal cooking method would be to grind them up into a paste that are sautéed for more flavour.
A common parasite of beehives, these creatures aren’t the most physically appealing. However, the waxworm contains beneficial fatty acids and taste completely different from the way they look! They are either roasted or fried.
17. Diving Beetles
In Mexico, these edible bugs are usually roasted and salted to be eaten with tacos. They are a traditional dish in some parts of China, and are also eaten in Thailand and Taiwan.
I think it’s safe to say that at some point we’ve all knowingly or unknowingly consumed ants. Various species of ants have been used to produce pastes that are served with curry, in salads and even in the production of an appetizing beverage.
These are caterpillars of the Bagworm Moth. In some places, this creature is encouraged to be bred due to its larvae which is rich in protein. They are seen as a delicacy in Madagascar.
20. Agave Weevils
A seasonal specialty of south-eastern Mexican markets, these weevils are rich in protein and are roasted or fried before being eaten. Agave weevils are even canned and sold in Mexico.
Due to their diet of mainly plant sap, these bugs would serve as a better source of liquid rather than food. They produce a honeydew that is left behind as they move which varies in taste.
22. Christmas Beetle
As its name suggests, the Christmas beetle is most frequent in both rural and urban areas close to Christmas. They are native to Australia and South Africa. Commonly eaten in Australia, the larvae of these insects is what you would probably prefer.
Variants of this bug are eaten in some parts of China but they are more favoured as being the source of red carmine dye. This dye is commonly used as a colorant in food and lipstick.
24. June Beetle
Commonly found in temperate parts of North America around June, these beetles were roasted and eaten by Native Americans. They are edible either as adults or larvae and produce a pleasant taste you are bound to remember.
They are considered a delicacy in many African, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries where they are eaten. If you can look past its ugly appearance, it would make for a good snack whether it is fried, smoked or dried.
Like dragonflies, Mayflies have short lifespans. They are also estimated to be the best source of raw protein compared to all other edible insects. Mayflies are collected and eaten in many parts of China and Japan.
Contrary to its name, mealworms are actually the larval form of the Mealworm Beetle. They are nutritiously edible and are fried or baked. Don’t hesitate to try this one, as its taste is described as appetizing.
28. Palm Weevils
A tasty larval dish which is viewed as a delicacy in countries of South Asia. These weevils have been described as having a creamy taste when eaten raw, and a meat-like flavour when cooked as well as one that resembles bacon!
Silkworms are most commonly eaten in pupal form. They are a primary producer of silk and are eaten in a variety of cultures. The pupae are boiled and seasoned for consumption or simply roasted.
If you’re thinking that these guys are related to grasshoppers, then you are correct. Katydids, also known as bush crickets, are eaten throughout South America, Africa, and India, amongst other countries. They are said to have a flavour similar to that of shrimp.
31. Longhorn Beetles
You can’t miss this beetle, as its extremely long antennas are nothing less than noticeable. It is eaten in countries such as: Africa, Oceania, and South America. It is a popular snack so my guess is that it doesn’t taste half bad!
32. Mopane Worms
These worms can be eaten raw, however, it is advisable to refrain from eating the head. They can also be fried or cooked with onions and tomatoes among other spices. Mopane worms are packaged in tomato sauce as a flavour enhancement.
33. Bamboo Worms
Another popular selection in Asian regions, bamboo worms are usually eaten deep-fried. Collectors must engage in a meticulous process in order to obtain these worms, so I would say it is a snack worth appreciating (given that the taste is agreeable!).
The tobacco hornworm, as it is commonly called, are found throughout much of the American content. It is the larval form of the Carolina Sphinx Moth. This worm secretes nicotine, hence its name, and should go through a starvation period before being consumed.
35. Tiger Beetles
Characterized by their aggressive hunting habits and speed, these guys would definitely be a snack you can brag about. They are mainly served in Mexican markets after being fried or roasted.
These are commonly eaten in China (as I’m sure you have guessed), Australia, Indonesia, and the Congo, among other countries. They are usually preferable in their larval form and are said to have a buttery flavour.
37. Witchetty Grub
Aboriginal Australians are all too familiar with the edibility of this insect. It is considered one of the most important insect foods of the desert, and is said to have an almond-like taste when eaten raw. These bugs are packed with protein, so consider it a healthy snack if you were to ever try it.
Finally, maybe all insects aren’t so bad after all. Quite a few of them tend to have more uses than simply serving as unsightly pests. As we can derive from the article, Entomophagy is more frequently practiced in South America, Africa, Asia, and New Zealand. Now why let those guys have all the fun?
I believe it is important to keep an open mind with regards to trying new food, especially those of significant nutritional value. Try to look past what may be a discouraging exterior to experience what nature has to offer, bearing in mind what you’ve just read. You never know, one or more of these just might become a personal favourite.. or not!