In a survival situation, foraging for food is a critical skill. While the thought of eating insects may not get your mough watering, insects are generally high in essential proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Here’s a few simple rules to follow, as well as a list of some insects that you can eat.
Some General Rules Of Thumb
- Avoid bright colored insects. Like in other animals, bright colors are a sign that an insect may be poisonous.
- Avoid insects that smell or are hairy. These too are signs that an insect may be poisonous.
- Avoid insects that sting or bite, as they often contain venom.
- Avoid bugs that move around out the open. The more bold an insect it is, the more likely they are to be poisonous.
- Finally, avoid bugs that carry diseases- mosquitoes, ticks, flies, etc.
- Of course, there are exceptions for every rule, so it’s good to know for sure.
Our List Of Edible Insects
Ants– honeypot ants, leaf-cutter ants and carpenter ants are all edible.
Centipedes– Roasted centipedes are sold on the street in China! I’m not going to lie, that’s sounds freaking disgusting.
Cicad- found in the eastern United States, if you catch them at the right time they are soft and juicy.
Crickets– fry some crickets and put them on some rice. Melt some cheese on top. Yum! A popular snack in Thailand and Mexico.
Dragonflies– boil them or fry them for a yummy treat!
Earthworms– high in protein and iron. Served in restaurants in Croatia!
Grasshoppers– high in protein and calcium. Served in Mexico with Chile and lime.
Mealworms – can be boiled, and fried, but most nutritions form is eatin them raw.
June Bugs– roasted them and chomp on them like popcorn!
Pill-Bugs/Potatoes Bugs– actually descendants of lobsters, and when boiled they similarly turn red.
Silk Worms– popular in Korea.
Termites– if you’re brave, eat ‘em raw!
Preparing To Eat Insects
Cooking, Boiling, or smoking the insects will make them taste better, and helps remove venom, toxins, and parasites.
Legs, wings, and heads generally don’t contain much nutirtional value, so those can be pulled off.
And of course, if you have to eat poisionous insects such as bees, tarantulas, or scoroions, make sure their stingers are removed, and they are cooked well.
Nutritional Benefits Of Insects
Crickets are a remarkable source of protein, among other things. They have 71 grams of protein per 100 gallons of water which is more than many types of meat you can consume; for example, beef is six grams and chicken is 19 grams.
Even my favorite fish, salmon, provides less protein than crickets. You can actually buy organic cricket flour online on amazon here and at bug and cricket stores, which are mostly in NY, California and overseas. Cricket flour is great because it provides a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, fiber, B12, B6, Omega-3s, Omega-6s and amino acids, as well as protein. Compared to steak, the amount of protein in cricket flour is a whopping three times more, which makes you think twice about eating unhealthy steak. And four crickets have as much calcium as a cup of milk. And they beat out even some other edible insects on the nutritional chart.
As far as protein, grasshoppers provide a tad bit more than crickets, but are one in the same as far as everything else, such as being a great source of unsaturated fats which helps lowers the risk of heart disease.
The reason beetles are the new bean is because the water beetle surpasses the kidney bean when it comes to protein. On the insect nutritional chart the giant water beetle even surpasses crickets. The giant water beetle also provides more calcium than most other insects. And if you are looking for a good source of iron, this is the insect to eat. Water beetles even have more iron than most meats like steak and cod. Dung beetles are right behind water bugs in nutritional value.
Mealworms actually have more protein then crickets and salmon, if you eat fish. They also are a great source of iron and niacin. As far as magnesium, mealworms have triple the amount that crickets provide. Eating mealworms dried provides more protein than cooked or raw and more than double the amount that beef has.