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.

Preparing and cooking palm weevil larvae

Preparing and cooking palm weevil larvae

We've already shared some footage of Josh and Ben gathering palm weevil larvae in Uganda.

Now... what do you do with them?

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A complex sandwich with... termites!

A complex sandwich with... termites!

“There’s wings everywhere!” What happens when you make a toasted termite sandwich in Kenya…

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A kitchen where cockroaches are welcome

A kitchen where cockroaches are welcome

We like a challenge here at BUGSfeed. So this week we’re writing about a dish that contains two things many people hate: cockroaches and tapioca.

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Roasted locusts with earthy ants and wild garlic

Roasted desert locusts with earthy ants and wild garlic

Even the most committed entomophobe (someone who really doesn't like insects) must surely admit that these destructive desert locusts are very beautiful. The pale yellow bodies of schistocerca gregaria are marked with bold black patterns, and their powerful, serrated hind legs look almost translucent.

A swarm of hundreds of thousands wouldn’t be so beautiful, perhaps. But such events do provide an opportunity to gather the invaders up (like in this case in Israel) and cook them.

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Cricket Pizza!

Cricket Pizza!

As soon as I read about cricket flour, I knew I had to try it. The pros seemed endless: calcium, B12, iron and almost 13 grams of protein per 100 grams of crickets! It seemed almost too good to be true, and for a while it was. Living in the Czech Republic, where eating insects is technically illegal, purchasing the flour was much harder than expected.

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Termite crackers

Termite crackers

Cooking with insects? Get creative, and don’t hold back. As with all cooking, playfulness is key to expanding tastes and changing attitudes. In Kenya, Nordic Food Lab’s lead researcher for “Deliciousness as an argument for edible insects”, Josh Evans, came up with a cracking idea for a termite dish…

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Baking with crickets: cookies, loaf, icing

Baking with crickets: cookies, loaf, icing

Nutty flavours, firm texture, a nice wee protein boost – some insects are well-suited to cakes and sweet treats. This week we bring you tried-and-tested cricket baking recipes, from entomophagy enthusiast Chelsea Thomas. Beekeeper, insect breeder and bug-eater, Chelsea is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and her Twitter feed is a must for anyone interested in entomophagy – she regularly posts photos and videos of her mini-farms and experiments in cooking insects.

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Cooking cockhafer with old-timey Europeans

Cooking cockchafer with old-timey Europeans

Whilst entomophagy is making its entry on the European scene these days as a new and modern food fad, eating insects was actually not unusual in most of Central Europe back in the days. Specifically the cockchafer was quite popular. But how did the Europeans cook it then, you ask? Below are some suggestions from France.

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Chapulines – Mexican Grasshoppers

Chapulines – Mexican Grasshoppers

In areas of Mexico – particularly the state of Oaxaca – piles of grasshoppers for consumption are a common sight. Called chapulínes – a native Nahuatl word – the bugs are popular both as a snack and as an ingredient.

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'Buggis' for Burns Nicht – haggis with mealworms

'Buggis' for Burns Nicht – haggis with mealworms

As all Scottish followers will know, tonight is Burns Nicht. Yesterday, we were wondering on Twitter if someone had made haggis, the Scottish national dish, from insects yet. Today, we came across the answer and are sharing it with kind permission of the wonderful Bugs for Life project. Here's Craig MacFarlane and the bug haggis, or 'buggis'. – Ed.

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More on Crickets

Insect City Utopia: Inside the 'Cricket Reactor'

Jakub Dzamba did not stop at a consumer-friendly countertop farm, but has imagined whole urban landscapes that have the mass production of edible insects built in to their fabric, with heat, warmth, waste and sustainability all addressed. As is often the case with new design and architecture, it's feels simultaneously like far-fetched science fiction, and something that's just around the corner. More →

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Baking with crickets: cookies, loaf, icing

Baking with insects: Chelsea Margaux is sharing her recipes for cricket cookies, cricket banana loaf, and cricket icing. More →

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"In supermarkets by the end of the year" – a chat with Crobar

In a market full of energy bars, one stands out from the crowd: it's got a very special ingredient. Speaking to BUGSfeed, Crobar's founder Christine Spliid tells of the gamble involved in launching a cricket-based snack. More →

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Feed the World

If the phrase ‘Feed the World!’ provokes in you a sense of hopeless cynicism and unwelcome Bob Geldof memories, you’re probably not alone. But the idea that edible insects might be the ‘solution’ has been gaining notoriety in recent years, since the UN published its rallying cry in 2013. Packed with healthy fats, nutrients and protein and easy to rear, bugs are a potential answer to food shortage, or so the argument goes. More →

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Can eating insects go wrong?

Does the trendiness of edible insects spell a corporate takeover? Remember when sushi was 'out there' in the west? More →