Prepare and cook them

As with any food source, there are countless ways to cook and eat insects.

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Crickets. Photo: Nordic Food Lab, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Cookies and cakes with insect flour are becoming popular - they pack in a lot of protein.

One increasingly popular product is flour – roasted crickets or grasshoppers ground into powder form, which can be used just like flour in both savoury and sweet foods. You can buy this online in various countries. For more information on regulations around edible insects, see here.

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Termites. Photo: BUGS the film

Sweeties are also a popular way to consume insects. You can now buy giant leafcutter ants coated in Belgian chocolate in department stores like Selfridges. Or lollipops with fragrant ants inside. Cookies and cakes with insect flour are becoming popular too – they pack in a lot of protein, unlike standard confection which is mostly just sugar and fat. This makes cakes with insect protein particularly good as a snack whilst hiking.

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These products are confined to the ‘novelty’ sections, perpetuating the idea that insects aren’t really ‘proper’ food. It seems likely that as entomophagy becomes more widespread insects will move from being seen as a gimmick or protein supplement to a real and diverse food source.

And that’s the attitude towards insects that you’ll see presented in this section of BUGSfeed that will hold a number of recipes treating insects as real food, as an independent ingredients that needs to be treated in an independent fashion - and in different ways to different outcomes. At times these recipes will be easily accessible everyday takes on how to utilize insects, and at other times they’ll be the advanced experiments of gourmet chefs.

Quiche Lorraine avec Ver de Terre

Quiche Lorraine avec ver de terre

Searching for earthworm recipes is not the most fruitful enterprise. Turns out though, that if you use the French term – ‘avec ver de terre’ – you have slightly more success! And it sounds really fancy.

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What to do with June Bugs?

What to do with June Bugs?

After some extended experimentation with her team of chefs, Deliento founder Lucy Martin thinks she has the answer. The beetles have a “savoury, slightly salty taste,” she tells BUGSfeed, that goes perfectly with Parmesan – and thus the Parmajune Thin was created.

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Silkworm Spaghetti

Silkworm Spaghetti

This is an adapted version of Randall Creasey’s recipe, from the That’s So Primal blog. 

The blog is about ‘paleo’ cooking, which is, broadly speaking, a diet that cuts out grains, legumes and processed food, and is usually quite high in protein. Silkworms, he points out, are a great meat substitute, as they contain a very high level of protein.

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Silkworm Toast-Topper

Silkworm Toast-Topper

Dreamt up by the ‘Culinologist’ team at US-based Culinex, this recipe was joint winner in an edible insect competition last year. ‘Pickled Pupae & Olive Chèvre Toasts with Mint’ certainly doesn’t sound like a quick 'n' easy dish, but we were drawn in by their pickling technique (and great images).

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Roberto Flore's Wild Herbs, Honey & Ants

Roberto Flore's Wild Herbs, Honey & Ants

In present times we know quite a bit related to the gastronomic habits of the ancient Nuragic people of Sardinia. We know for sure that at the time when they inhabited my native island, hunting bees for honey was a dangerous, but a common practice, though reserved to men.

Nuragic people also collected wild herbs, and they were also able to apply evolved gastronomic techniques such as smoking, baking, or boiling. In some areas of Sardinia like Bargagia and Gallura, Sardinians still keep a dish alive: latuka e mele (lettuce and honey) – a dish that has been part of our heritage for more than 3000 years.

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7 easy steps: make escamoles ice cream

Make escamoles ice cream in 7 easy steps

Recently, my friend Andreas Johnsen premiered his new documentary BUGS at the Tribeca Film Festival. I was planning an ice cream social for the same day, and my friend Aaron suggested we make bugs ice cream in honor of Andreas’s film.

I talked with Andreas and he was excited by the idea, so he arranged for his friend JC Redon to bring fresh escamoles from Mexico. We planned a gathering for bug ice cream cranking & tasting on the popular High Line in New York City.

Escamoles are the larvae of ants that live under Agave roots, and they are very popular in Mexico City. JC specializes in farming and cooking these delicious little treats. I was dubious about his ability to bring 10kg of escamoles through customs, but the JFK officials gave him no trouble and didn’t even need to see his papers.

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Casu marzu ice cream

Casu marzu ice cream

The infamous casu marzu, a Sardinian cheese notable for its live larvae content, is a sought-after delicacy on the island – especially given that it’s illegal to sell it.

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Oatmeal waxworm cookies

Oatmeal waxworm cookies

The waxworms in these cookies take on a pleasantly thick texture much like the raisins we expect in oatmeal cookies, and a mild, sweet flavor.

Waxworms absorb fewer flavors when baked than when cooked, so I chose to use waxworms raised on honey and cinnamon for half of the cookies. My friends and I thought these tasted the best, but we’re not unbiased. I intend to follow up with blind tastings.

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Ancient magic, Nordic Food Lab style

Ancient magic, Nordic Food Lab style

Fermentation, an ancient technology, is enjoying popularity as a food trend – not least for the health benefits of eating the ‘good’ bacteria found in foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and yoghurt.

The DIY side of it is regularly mentioned, with live yoghurt or sourdough starters increasing in popularity. With fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut, it’s ridiculously easy to make at home: just “cabbage, salt and time”. Perhaps the most famous fermented food, though, is fish sauce. This potent condiment is a vital ingredient in many asian dishes, adding a rich umami-like flavour that bears little relation to its fishy smell in the bottle.

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Paella with 'Land Shrimp'

Paella with 'Land Shrimp'

I cried the first time I saw a waxworm. I had just bought my first honeybee hive secondhand, and after a full year of classes, books, and prep I was so ready to clean that thing up and get started. When I got it home, I realised it was filled with the unmistakable long thin tubes of wax moth larvae. I should’ve known: the hive had been empty for a full year and I’d ‘bought’ it in barter for chickens, so there was no reason to expect excellency. Still, waxworms can be be a real problem, and they still show up in all three of my hives to this day.

Less than two years later, I grow waxworms in jars in my bedroom and wish I had more.  It turns out that beekeeping and eating insects pair quite well. Finding Waxmoth larvae isn’t such a sad waste of wax if you can start a new little colony of “land shrimp” as some call these delicacies. This summer I’m going to eat my drone larvae too, but that’s another story.

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