Because Insects are my favorite organism, here are some Facts about them, not to gross you out but to educate you. Western society tells us it is disgusting to eat insects. But it is OK to eat shellfish. Shellfish and insects are under the same Phylum; Arthropoda. I ask this question all the time to people who dislike insects but love lobster (I tend to annoy people with this question all the time).
Insects in all their forms provide essential protein for about 2 billion people around the world.
One serving of caterpillar has MORE protein that a serving of beef.
Most insects are vegetarian. Unlike the meat we eat which is filed with GMO's and antibiotics.
You never hear on the news that 10, 000lbs of insect meat has to be pulled off the shelf because of Salmonella.
Benefits of Eating Insects
The benefits of consuming insects are multifold, starting with the fact that they're good for you. Consider the following: 100 grams of crickets contains 121 calories. Only 49.5 calories come from fat. Where you really see the nutritional value is in the 12.9 grams of protein and 75.8 milligrams of iron. They also have about 5 grams of carbohydrates.
If you're watching your figure and want to cut down on the carbs, go with a silk worm pupae or a nice steaming bowl of termites. Neither of these has any carbohydrates, and they're both great sources of protein and calories. But if it's protein you seek, look no further than the caterpillar. These little fellows pack a walloping 28 grams of protein per 100 grams. They're also loaded with iron, thiamine and niacin. You may know those last two by their more common names -- vitamins B1 and B3.
Paragraph quoted from National Geographic and from my "How to cook with Insects".
ROME -- The latest weapon in the U.N.'s fight against hunger, global warming and pollution might be flying by you right now.
Edible insects are being promoted as a low-fat, high-protein food for people, pets and livestock. According to the U.N., they come with appetizing side benefits: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and livestock pollution, creating jobs in developing countries and feeding the millions of hungry people in the world.
Some edible insect information in bite-sized form:
WHO EATS INSECTS NOW?
Two billion people do, largely in Asia, Africa and Latin America, the Rome-based U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said Monday as it issued a report exploring edible insect potential.
Some insects may already be in your food (and this is no fly-in-my-soup joke). Demand for natural food coloring as opposed to artificial dyes is increasing, the agency's experts say. A red coloring produced from the cochineal, a scaled insect often exported from Peru, already puts the hue in a trendy Italian aperitif and an internationally popular brand of strawberry yogurt. Many pharmaceutical companies also use colorings from insects in their pills.
PACKED WITH PROTEIN, FULL OF FIBER
Scientists who have studied the nutritional value of edible insects have found that red ants, small grasshoppers and some water beetles pack (gram-per-gram or ounce-per-ounce) enough protein to rank with lean ground beef while having less fat per gram.
Bored with bran as a source of fiber in your diet? Edible insects can oblige, and they also contain useful minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorous, selenium and zinc.
WHICH TO CHOOSE?
Beetles and caterpillars are the most common meals among the more than 1,900 edible insect species that people eat. Other popular insect foods are bees, wasps, ants, grasshoppers, locusts and crickets. Less popular are termites and flies, according to U.N. data.
Insects on average can convert 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of feed into 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of edible meat. In comparison, cattle require 8 kilograms (17.6 pounds) of feed to produce a kilogram of meat. Most insects raised for food are likely to produce fewer environmentally harmful greenhouse gases than livestock, the U.N. agency says.
DON'T SWAT THE INCOME
Edible insects are a money-maker. In Africa, four big water bottles filled with grasshoppers can fetch a gatherer 15 euros ($20). Some caterpillars in southern Africa and weaver ant eggs in Southeast Asia are considered delicacies and command high prices.
Insect-farms tend to be small, serving niche markets like fish bait businesses. But since insects thrive across a wide range of locations -- from deserts to mountains -- and are highly adaptable, experts see big potential for the insect farming industry, especially those farming insects for animal feed. Most edible insects are now gathered in forests.
LET A BUG DO YOUR RECYLING
A 3 million euro ($4 million) European Union-funded research project is studying the common housefly to see if a lot of flies can help recycle animal waste by essentially eating it while helping to produce feed for animals such as chickens. Right now farmers can only use so much manure as fertilizer and many often pay handsome sums for someone to cart away animal waste and burn it.
A South African fly factory that rears the insects en masse to transform blood, guts, manure and discarded food into animal feed has won a $100,000 U.N.-backed innovation prize.
Details about the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's work on edible insects at www.fao.org/forestry/edibleinsects