Cooking with Crickets

Greetings, Hive! Today I’m here to talk about the future of our food. It is no secret that the human population’s appetite for meat and other animal products is unsustainable. From the excessive land and water usage, to greenhouse gas emissions, and antibiotic resistance, the case for eating meat (especially beef) is diminishing. Well what if I told you that there was a sustainable protein source that only uses a small fraction of the resources that it takes to produce beef, but still contains the equivalent amount of protein along with essential amino acids and other nutrients? To find this miracle source of protein, you only need to look down.

Crickets, and other insects like meal worms and grasshoppers are consumed the world over, in many different cultures and cuisines. The practice of eating insects is called entomophagy and over 2 billion people in the world eat insects as a regular part of their diets. One beef cow alone takes almost half a million gallons of water to produce- that’s more than 200 gallons of water per finished pound of beef. To produce the equivalent one pound of crickets, it takes merely one gallon of water. Producing crickets also uses less land, takes less time, and emits fewer greenhouse gases, all while providing the exact same amount of protein. If everyone were to take even one meal where they would normally eat beef, and replace it with an alternate source of protein, we could collectively make a huge impact on the world.

So where should you start? There are several ways to incorporate insects into your meals. Bitty flour is an exact flour substitute that contains no gluten and is made up of ground crickets, and other vegetables. Bitty flour is really amazing because it can be used in recipes exactly as you would baking flour, but adds a significant amount of protein to your dishes. You can find Bitty flour here:

www.bittyfoods.com

You can also incorporate cricket powder, which is simply dried and finely ground crickets, directly into your foods for added protein. At this end of this article you can find my award- winning granola recipe which includes cricket powder. You can find cricket powder on amazon, and I have personally tried both of these brands and they are both of good quality.

So what’s stopping you? Squeamish about bugs? We all know what happens in Green Eggs and Ham, after much stalling and refusing, the main character tries them and he loves them. You can add cricket powder to any dish. Savory foods like spaghetti sauce, stews, and soups can mask the flavor entirely. To sweet foods and breads, it adds a delicious earthy nuttiness to your dish. Studies have even shown that children who grow up eating atypical foods like insects learn to be more adventurous and healthy eaters as they grow older. You can lay the groundwork for healthy children and a healthier environment with these tiny insects. Still not convinced you’ll like them? Take a tip from Sam-I-am “Try them, try them, and you may! Try them and you may, I say.”

(Option #1 on Amazon)
(Option #2 on Amazon)

The recipe:

  • Green Bee Granola
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut 2-3 tablespoons cricket powder 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup softened coconut oil
  • 3/4 tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, and in a large bowl combine the dry ingredients, the oats, nuts, shredded coconut and brown sugar, and in a separate bowl combine the maple syrup, oil, and salt.

You are then going to combine both mixtures and pour onto two sheet pans. Cook for around one hour, stirring every 10- 15 minutes until the granola is warm, brown, and toasty.

Sources:

Barennes, H., Phimmasane, M., & Rajaonarivo, C. (2015). Insect Consumption to Address Undernutrition, a National Survey on the Prevalence of Insect Consumption among Adults and Vendors in Laos. Plos ONE, 10(8), 1-16. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0136458

Hartmann, C., Shi, J., Giusto, A., & Siegrist, M. (2015). The psychology of eating insects: A cross-cultural comparison between Germany and China. Food Quality And Preference, 44, 148-156.

Smiderle, D., Sloan, R., & Kains, D. (2016). Overcoming the “Ick” Factor: An Exploratory Study on Techniques to Overcome Consumer Barriers for a Nutrition Bar which Contains Cricket Flour. Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 6(2), 41-48.

USDA.gov