Health

Food of the future: Bugs

Updated 1732 GMT (0132 HKT) October 25, 2019
Share
09 eating insects09 eating insects
1 of 18
Like all insects, this edible water beetle contains significant amounts of fiber due to the chitin from their outer skeleton. Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images
This sushi is garnished with fried grasshopper. Traditional Japanese cuisine uses many different insects such as bee and stonefly larvae; grasshoppers are often served in sugar and soy sauce. Researchers believe that sushi lovers might be some of the first Americans to embrace eating insects because they are already accustomed to eating unusual offerings. Shutterstock
The TV show "Fear Factor," which ran from 2001 to 2006, helped launch some innovative insect foods, such as this "Crunchy Larva" candy which debuted in three flavors at the Chicago Candy Expo in 2005. Scott Olson/Getty Images
Edible winged ants are garnishing a gourmet dish at Bangkok's "Insects in the Backyard," which says it offers the first insect-based fine dining menu. Ants are highly sought food sources in many parts of the world: The black weaver ant is popular in China, India and Sri Lanka, and leafcutter species are quite popular in Mexico. Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images
If it's on a stick, it's better, right? So why not try some toasted mealworms, the larval form of the mealworm beetle. With a slight nutty flavor (you hear that a lot about bugs), each mealworm is 46% protein and full of beneficial amino acids and vitamins. Shutterstock
Grasshoppers are commonly eaten as a side dish, snack and lunch-box ingredient in Korea. In Mexico, they are known as chapulines, and are a popular form of street food. Preparation is simple: salt them lightly, put in a bit of water, and
simmer until dry. Bigger grasshoppers are deep fried or roasted.
Shutterstock
These pre-cooked insect burgers on a supermarket shelf in Geneva are based on protein-rich mealworm. Because they have a mild flavor they can easily be doctored with other ingredients for a protein-packed meal with a tiny carbon footprint. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
How about snacking on a bowl of toasted mopane worms? While called a worm, the four-inch critter is actually the caterpillar of the emperor moth. As big around as a cigar, the creatures are typically gutted and dried or smoked, which enhances the flavors. Mopane worms are nearly 60% protein, 17% fat and packed full of minerals, making them very healthy to eat. Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images
Pan-roasting crickets until they're crisp and toasty is one way of getting your bug fix. But if you prefer a less obvious snack, try a cricket version of Rice Krispies treats or choco-cricket cookies. You can also easily use cricket powder as the protein in your next smoothie. Shutterstock
To harvest silk from silkworms, they must be boiled while still in the cocoon or the silk is ruined. That leaves a lot of boiled silkworms to eat! In Korea, they are seasoned into a popular snack food known as beondegi. They have a pungent, almost bitter smell (which is said to be much worse if they are canned), and their juices pop into your mouth when you bite -- which may or may not be to your liking. Shutterstock
Palm weevil larvae are about 55% fat, 33% protein, have medium to high levels of all nine essential amino acids and are packed with B-vitamins, zinc and vitamin E. Mature larvae can be quite large, some with a mass close to six grams.
The perfect food, right? They don't need extra oil, and will fry in their own fat, caramelizing to a golden brown, crispy exterior. Best to slice them open a bit before frying or you might have exploding larvae all over your kitchen.
Food and Agriculture Organization
Don't call the exterminator! These cockroaches eating feed at a roach farm in Yibin, China, will soon be on the menu. Insects are the rare kind of livestock that you can raise vertically in stackable bins and tubs, and they require only 1/1,000th of the amount of water that cattle need to provide the same amount of edible food. Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images
Some of the 10 million cockroaches raised at the Yibin, China, farm have ended up in this dish at a local restaurant. Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images
By this time, you're ready for something really adventurous, right? The slightly salty fried tarantulas are such a delicacy in Cambodia that large ones can sell for $1 each, an enormous sum considering that minimum wage is $6 a day. A CNN freelancer cooked his own and said the belly tastes like crab. Others say the legs are delicious dipped into soy or sweet chili sauce. Shutterstock
Deep-fried scorpion on a stick looks scary but is said to be quite delicious. Some compare the crunchy bite to fried chicken skin, others says crispy french fries or buttery popcorn kernels. Whatever the taste, they are certainly healthier, containing about 52% protein and potassium. But don't eat too many -- the tannin content will dry your mouth or give you a headache (just like wine). Shutterstock
In Mexico City, you can easily find tortillas enriched with yellow mealworms, a traditional source of protein. Mexico has at least 300 species of edible insects, and they were a key part of the Aztec diet for centuries. It's easy to hide insects in the rich, spicy flavors of Mexican cooking, but grasshoppers are often served crispy, along with a shot of mescal, lime and salt. Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images
An employee holds insect protein powder at an experimental insect farm in Dole, in eastern France. Cricket protein, for example, is said to be a "complete protein" just like fish, meat, dairy and eggs. Sebastien Bozon/AFP/Getty Images
L'Atelier a pates, a pasta shop in eastern France, uses insect flour made with locusts to make a special pasta. Because locusts appear in swarms, they are particularly easy to harvest in the wild, and were a part of the Native American diet. It's said to taste like a prawn, and there are recommendations to rename them "sky prawns" to ease Westerners into considering them as a food resource. Jean-Chrisophe Verhaegen/AFP//Getty Images