Edible crickets are taking the world by storm. To establish food security and slash malnutrition worldwide, edible crickets are explored to achieve such.
Crickets, as a source of food, play a vital role in many countries’ livelihood, and may even impact medicine and communities.
In this article, crickets will be explored as a source of nutritional benefits and how they can be eaten safely.
Areas of Popular Consumption for Edible Crickets
Edible crickets are popular in places like Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In some of these areas, crickets are seen as delicacies and are more enjoyed than poultry meat.
The eating of crickets is nothing new. If you’re someone who frequently reads the Bible, you may have stumbled on the use of crickets, and other insects, as food sources. A portion of the Bible shows that crickets were recommended as food for the Israelites by God (Leviticus 11:22).
In China, cricket consumption is taken to another level. Not only do they eat crickets, but there are commercial farms that cater to a growing population of insect eaters.
Edible crickets are now gaining popularity in Australia, America, and Europe.
Entomophagy isn’t a newly adopted sport that people engage in seasonally. It is an antiquated food source, coming from Biblical days, and will likely find a place in mainstream cooking.
The Nutritional Composition of Edible Crickets
Like many other animal sources decorated on your plate and consumed as food, edible crickets boast a nutritional profile.
Notwithstanding, the nutritional benefits vary across different cricket species. While one species may be jampacked with a particular nutrient, that won’t always span across the board.
Other factors affecting the nutritional composition of edible crickets include their developmental stage, gender, ecosystem, climatic condition, and diet. How crickets are prepared for consumption also plays a role in the nutrients you’ll get from them.
To understand how your body benefits when you eat crickets, let’s consider what they contain.
When completely dried, edible crickets contain up to 33.44% of fats/oils. Depending on the cricket species, the lipids content at the nymphal stage might surpass those present in adults and vice versa.
Edible crickets mainly contain 2 types of lipids; triglycerols, which equate to some 80%, and phospholipids, about less than 20%. When consumed, these crickets can impart similar strength and energy to humans.
Most edible cricket species have a wealth of protein and energy. Research performed on some 14 species of crickets for consumption shows a protein range of 18.6 to 71.1%.
Cricket species such as Gryllus bimaculatus and A. domesticus are higher up on the protein spectrum, in comparison to their relatives.
In some cases, most edible cricket sources have a higher content source in comparison to pork, roasted goat, and chicken. This protein richness is great for growth and development.
Crickets don’t need to consume a diet rich in carbohydrates. Their maturity isn’t dependent on it, as they produce carbohydrates from the protein and fats in their bodies. This is somewhat similar to how aphids break down sugar to reconstruct into proteins.
Reportedly, the mole cricket has the highest source of carbohydrates, with crickets from the Brachtrupes genus the lowest.
Other nutritional benefits of crickets include linoleic and palmitic acids, magnesium, sodium, potassium, calcium, vitamins (A, B, C, D, E, and K), among others.
When consumed, you are assured that edible crickets will provide all the energy and nutrients needed to grow and thrive. It’s a well-rounded diet.
What do Crickets Tastes Like?
Intrigued by what you’ve read thus far? No doubt you may be wondering, “What do crickets tastes like?”
Overall, edible crickets have a nutty flavor when dried. Its aroma is slightly smoky, but that could largely depend on its method of preparation.
Some people also attribute its taste to chicken, while others say it has a neutral flavor. Also, its umami taste has a parmesan-like flavor. As tastes differ, your best bet is to try an edible cricket for yourself to determine if it’s something you want to add to your plate.
Are Crickets Safe to Eat?
Edible crickets are generally safe to prepare and consume as a dish. However, the safety of the crickets on your plate depends on certain factors.
Always ensure your crickets are reared and fed healthily. If a cricket feeds on the wrong type of diet, it may consume substances that may put you at risk.
To supplement, some persons are allergic to cricket chitlins (or intestines). The intestines of edible crickets may also be susceptible to unwanted microbes or worms, which depends on the ecosystem in which they’re reared. This makes it important, then, to source crickets from reputable places.
Often, before crickets are consumed, it’s important to pass them through drying and heating treatments. In most cases, the crickets you’ll prepare will come pre-cooked and would have already been dried and heated.
For live or frozen crickets, it’s usually best to boil them for a few minutes and then prepare them accordingly. Rearing edible crickets is something to also consider. This book tells you everything you need to know about raising crickets as a beginner.
How to Prepare Edible Crickets to Eat?
If you’re convinced that crickets will add flavor and nutritional benefits to your diet, it’s time to learn how to eat them. As with other animal-based dishes prepared in your kitchen, edible crickets can be prepared similarly.
Are you ready to eat crickets? These can be sourced on Amazon from reputable distributors who know what they are doing. You can also opt to get adventurous and score a new hobby by raising edible crickets. Either way, life is fleeting, have fun on this journey.