What we consider pests in some parts of the world is considered a delicacy—or just plain lunch with a crunch. Did you know that more than 1,700 species of insects are edible? Not only are they in abundance, but they are highly nutritious and sustainable. I learned a lot about eating bugs in the fall issue of World Ark magazine from Heifer International.
Here’s the scoop in case you are considering going green by including edible insects in your next stir fry. Entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, is picking up popularity in the U.S., not just in the countries where it is rather common: Southeast Asia, Central Africa and Latin America. According to the article “Extra Crunch with Lunch” by Sarah Schmidt, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is stepping up efforts to include edible insects in the fight against poverty and malnutrition in the above countries.
Apparently, it is pretty common to eat bugs which are high protein, containing more per gram than meat, as well as a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Put that idea next to the fact that the world population is expected to grow from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050 and suddenly insect eating becomes more attractive. They don’t require much space or resources to raise and they produce less waste than your average meat-bearing edible animal.
Restaurants from Los Angeles to New York are spouting bug-laden recipes like chocolate chirp cookies (with crickets) and a scorpion side salad. The irony, claims the article, is that just as it is becoming more in fashion in the West, eating insects is falling out of favor in developing countries as they are exposed to more Western ideas. That’s what the UN and other development experts are trying to combat.
Want to give it a try? The closest event listed in the article to Ohio is the Purdue Bug Bowl in West Lafayette, Ind., on April 14-15, 2012. You can also check out more information on the blog Insects Are Food at insectsarefood.com or Girl Meets Bug at girlmeetsbug.com.
I’ll be interested to see if this trend hops along or crawls into a “fad-only” phase. Now get out there and catch some crickets!
Tuesday Trippier lives in Delaware, is a writer and mother of four with a special interest in green living.