Several cultures around the world view insects as food: people eat insects fried, barbequed, or boiled and seasoned with spices. Of course, not all insects are popular, or even easy to find, for a home cook who wants to try them at home. Here are 6 of the most commonly consumed insects from across the globe.
Insects are prevalent on earth and can be found everywhere, from tropical rainforests to arid deserts and cool mountains. Some weird us out, some strike us as pretty, and some, apparently, look like a delicacy. Several cultures around the world view insects as food: people eat insects fried, barbequed, or boiled and seasoned with spices. Of course, not all insects are popular, or even easy to find, for a home cook who wants to try them at home. Here are 6 of the most commonly consumed insects from across the globe.
How Many Species Of Insects Are Edible?
In 2013, the United Nations urged people to eat more insects, estimating that there are 1,900 edible species on Earth.
Larvae are insects that turn into moths before they mature into adults. They are cultivated for consumption and are an excellent source of animal protein, with 16 grams of protein and 29 grams of fat in every 100-gram serving. The grubs are harvested from the roots of trees, where they eat wood, and are a traditional Aboriginal food. Most people like to eat raw grubs and consider them to be similar to roasted chicken. They are then cooked and served.
They are eaten raw or cooked by people mostly in the North East of India, China, Australia, and several other countries. There are more than 344 edible varieties on Earth. Palm weevil grubs are found in some Asian countries; giant water bugs are found in North America; and Africa is home to mopane worms.
There are many kinds of edible ants, including leafcutters, honeypots, lemons, and carpenter ants. Most ants have a vinegary taste, but they are sour to predators because they release acid when threatened. To remove the vinegary flavor, you can boil the ants in a shallow pan.
They are often roasted or lightly seared, like popcorn or other light snacks, and eaten. In Brazil, they are quite popular and are frequently part of celebratory feasts. Topped on salads or even desserts, ants may be used as crunchy toppings. In Mexico, ants are popular, and the queen's egg is a delicacy that is said to contain a nutty flavor.
A dragonfly's fast speed makes it difficult to catch. It might go up to 25 or 30 miles per hour, making it hard to catch. Dragonflies are usually caught by waving a palm reed through the air to snag their wings. They are usually caught by children in Indonesia and China, where they are taught to do so. After their wings are removed, they can be boiled or deep-fried until they are crisp. Like tarantulas and scorpions, dragonflies are reportedly edible and comprise a scrumptious crablike flesh. They are packed with nutrients and low in fat, making them an excellent snack.
The food consumed by the cricket gives it a distinct taste. The cricket's nutty flavor, for instance, is produced after it has eaten corn and fresh vegetables. In addition to providing protein and less fat than beef, crickets aid in digestion and lower inflammation in the body. Crickets are popular in Thailand, Cambodia, and Mexico (where they are sold as street food). They are typically dried and sold by the pound, then fried, baked, or roasted with a little oil and salt before consumption. Some people, however, eat crickets raw.
Grasshoppers are a common food source as they are high in protein and calcium, making them a simple food source in most countries. Grasshoppers are eaten and sold in Mexico. Farmers catch grasshoppers, which are viewed as pests in the agriculture industry, and then they are taken to the market for human consumption. Grasshoppers are seen as protein bars and are sold by the pound. They are fried or roasted after removing their legs and wings because they are not easy to bite and have no nutritional value.
The long-horned, june, dung, and rhinoceros species of beetle are consumed by people living in the Amazon basin and parts of Africa, but they are also common in other heavily forested regions. They're known as one of the world's most frequently eaten insects, comprising 31% of total insect consumption.
Beetles are loaded with protein and turn indigestible cellulose from trees into palatable fat for humans. They also supply humans with all nine essential amino acids, vitamin E (which reduces inflammation), vitamin A (which improves bone development and eye and skin health), beta-carotene (which prevents some age-related mental decline), and lutein (which prevents macular degeneration). Additionally, insects contain ash, which is laden with phosphorous, potassium, and calcium.