Creepy. Crawly. Healthy. Delicious?
Are Insects About to Invade Your Dinner Plate?Caramel glazed crickets anyone? How about some mealworm French fries or banana worm bread? While most will probably cringe at the sound of those dishes, there is a rapidly growing population who are seeing insects in a different light and cashing in on some substantial health benefits. Yes, the thought of buying a bag of bugs at the local super market may sound crazy. It's difficult to see past years of conditioning and, for some, it may never happen. But for those willing to put pre-conceived notions aside and consider altering their diet, they stand to benefit from a food source that is extremely high in protein and low in carbohydrates. They will also have a bevy of options available as there are currently 1,400+ species of insects that have been deemed safe for consumption.
Insects have already made their way into some fine dining establishments in the US with one restaurant in New York featuring an $11 Baby Bee Brulee, a custard with a crunchy bee on top. Another restaurant offers tacos stuffed with dried grasshoppers prepared with traditional Mexican spices. For those not ready to dive into this movement antennae first, there are more subtle ways to introduce insects into a diet. Some chefs are using insect fare as an added ingredient in items such as meatballs, or dry roasting insects and using them as an alternative to nuts in baked goods.
Insects are also a very green food option. The raising of insects as a food source puts substantially less strain on the environment when compared to beef, swine and poultry as they require very little water, virtually no land and produce minimal amounts of ammonia and greenhouse gases. Sounding better?
Here are some facts to chew on:
- Less than .05% of insect species are known to cause harm to people, animals or plants
- In many countries, eating insects has been common practice for tens of thousands of years
- Japanese Emperor Hirohito loved to dine on cooked rice with canned wasps, soy sauce and sugar
While not for everyone, the Insects as Food trend is gaining momentum worldwide. If you decide that you may want to give it a try, here are a few helpful resources to get you started:
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