I’ve always known that insects are high in protein and that they are diet mainstays in some indigenous cultures. Aboriginal Australians love witchetty grubs. One woman describes them as tasting like almonds when raw and scrambled eggs when cooked. They were not on the menu on our trip to Australia or I would have checked them out.
Mexico is the home of the largest variety of edible insects: gusanos, jumiles, chicatanos, ahuatle, escamoles, cuchamas, chapulines, and alacranes to name a few. I didn’t give their translations as the names sound better without the labels: worms, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and scorpions. There are over 2,000 species of edible insects worldwide.
I’m also aware that many Mexicans have unfortunatley altered their diets to include fewer insects and therefore less protein because of the disdain of peoples from other parts of the world.
Now, Trina Chiasson, a tech from Silicon Valley, has partnered with James Ricci, science officer and Tequila Ray Snorkel, tech officer. Hmm, gusanos are the grubs found in tequila bottles. The trio has purchased an existing cricket farm in Florida. They are working on making the farming more efficient. The Science News article describes the farming as difficult, citing one farmer’s attempt as resulting in a loss of millions of crickets in a matter of days. Other ideas are to use waste to feed the insects. After all, they have to eat too.
Worldwide, insect farming has become a 55 million dollar business. One chef includes them in an eight-course meal with insect bodies mixed with popcorn and chocolate mousse toppedd with wasps. Crickets average $15 per pound, but I imagine one pound contains many of the little critters.
Some insects are crunchy and others chewy, two textures I enjoy. However, I’m not ready to have them looking up at me from my plate. However, I do like the idea of them being ground and uses in protein bars or being fed to farmed fish. Hmm, chocolate covered, maybe?
If the human population continues to grow as it always has, we will need to look for resources to support them wherever we can.