Did you know that the ancient Romans and Greeks dined on insects? Aristotle describes in his writings the tastiest time to harvest cicadas and the Old Testament encourages Christians and Jews to chow down on locusts, beetles and grasshoppers! The tradition of eating insects has been around for thousands of years and in many countries’ insect cuisine is alive and well. In Mexico you’ll find ant eggs soaked in butter and in parts of Brazil ants dipped in chocolate, in Thailand fried cricket and grasshoppers are a common snack and in China you can sample roasted bee larvae! So, we were obviously very excited when we heard from our friends at Bug Recipes who asked us to try out their new bug boxes… what would they taste like? Will we be converted?
Tried and Tested:
Bugs are a traditional food in Africa, Asia and Latin America, but here in the West, the idea of eating insects is still taboo. There are just a handful of restaurants in London that offer insects on their menus. However, over recent years the idea of introducing bugs into the population’s diet has grown in popularity. Bugs are incredibly sustainable to harvest, high in protein and nutrients, and let’s face it, delicious! If you can get over the fact that they look like, um, insects, you’d be chowing down on these critters every day.
We chose to cook Cricket and Kale Pesto Rigatoni. Our recipe box came with handy step by step instructions and included crickets, chilli flakes, cashews and lemon salt and we supplemented with a lemon, kale, parmesan cheese, olive oil, pepper and a garlic clove. The cooking process was very easy: while the pasta was boiling we quickly roasted the cashews, crickets and kale and then whizzed everything up in a food processor to make the pesto.
The result was exceptionally pleasant, the pesto was somewhat smoky with a bit of a bite and was complemented perfectly with the cashews and lemon salt. To be quite honest, if we hadn’t actually roasted the crickets ourselves, we would have never guessed we were eating bugs! When we got up the courage to try the crickets on their own, they were surprisingly addictive. They taste a little nutty, similar to umami!
Can eating insects save the planet:
Insects are insanely sustainable, as bug recipes put it “insects fart way less than cows!”. Bugs are and one of the most efficient converters of feed to protein in the world. Compared to traditional livestock, insects create huge savings on land use, water consumption and CO2 emissions. For example, crickets require an astonishing 22,000 times less water than beef per kg of protein.
Bugs are superfoods:
Insects are incredibly nutritious, they are up to 70% in protein, rich in Omega 3 & 6s and have “more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk, more vitamin B12 than red meat and more potassium than bananas!”. To top that all off, a new clinical trial from the University of Wisconsin shows that consuming crickets can support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Bug Boxes: Buy: here
One off bug box £14.00/ £3.50 per portion
Subscription bug box £14.00 /£3.00 per portion
There are three types of Bug Recipe boxes available and each box contains two recipes. We chose Cricket and Kale Pesto Rigatoni & Mealworm Thai Butternut Soup but Mealworm Burrito & Crunchy Cricket Granola and Cricket and Mushroom Risotto & Fluffy Buffalo Worm Pancakes are also options.
If you prefer to get creative, insect only boxes are available and contain three portions of insects rather than the two for the same price.