It will soon be a new year with new people contributing to new and old problems. The overpopulation situation continues to explode. If this keeps up, it will be standing room only. Hmmm, maybe that will slow things down. Soon the Earth will be filled with Homo sapiens. You know, humans. How will we feed the masses?
Some experts claim that an all vegetarian diet would extend food supplies and still nourish the growing population. Some will never give up meat, and suggest selective cannibalism could cull the teeming hordes. I have another solution. Eat what’s bugging you.
The appropriate insects can be a good source of not only protein, but also fats, vitamins, and minerals. There are some 1,462 recorded species of edible insects. The Survival Guide to Edible Insects catalogs several that are easy to identify and have a long record of human consumption, including cicadas, worms, locusts, ants, and many beetles.
Crickets are high in calcium. Termites are high in iron. Silkworms provide 100% of the daily minimum requirement of copper, zinc, iron, thiamin, and riboflavin. Fred Demara shares helpful tips on identifying safe insects, locating their habitats, harvesting them, and preparing them properly.
These lowly bugs have served as food for most non-European cultures, and have served an important role in the history of human nutrition. Before humans had tools to hunt or farm, insects were an important staple. Insects are easy to catch and live everywhere, which is why they can be essential in a “survival” scenario.
You don’t drink water gathered in the wilds without disinfecting it. Even pristine mountain streams carry the risk of giardia.* Boiling your water or roasting your bugs** isn’t hard, and cooking, particularly roasting, hard-shelled insects can improve the taste.
Insects aren’t just a survival option. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization issued a 200-page report in the spring of 2013 noting that insects are high in protein and minerals and have a relatively low environmental impact. Earthworms and termites do add to methane emissions, but significantly less than beef. Insects are also more efficient in converting what they eat into something we can eat. A typical insect can convert 4.4 pounds of feed into 2.2 pounds of insect mass. A beef cow requires 17.6 pounds of feed to produce just 2.2 pounds of meat.
If you wish to prepare earthworms at home, you might not want to “purge” them. Wash the worms and put them in cornmeal for a day, and they will trade the gritty contents of their gut for cornmeal. They are tasty deep fried or ground and used much like hamburger. In the wild, you can just grab the worm by the head and squeeze like a tube of toothpaste.
Finely chop an apple and put in with worms for a day. Chill worms. Roll in flour with paprika, salt, and pepper. Deep-fry until crisp. Add a little hot sauce and yum.
Insects are abundant and free for the taking, making them a great asset in a survival situation. They are packed with nutrients and can be tasty if properly cooked. It just may be time to swaps your burgers for bugs…
*giardia is a parasite that can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, gas and nausea
**not all insects are bugs. A bug is an insect that has mouthparts that are modified for piercing and sucking..
To bee or not to bee? Comment and let me know. Hobo, the bookstore cat, is a fan of butterflies. You can read about it in “Hobo Finds a Home”, a children’s book about finding your place in the world, and eating dinner…