Sometimes it pays to think small…especially when it comes to eating in a survival situation.
It may sound unappetizing but pound for pound, insects are more valuable and nutritious than any meat…But how do you identify edible insects and stay away from the ones that could kill you?
Edible Insects: Identifying What We Can And Can’t Eat
Before we move on to the five edible insects I’d like to take some time to tell you what you should avoid!
(keep in mind that these are guidelines and if you really want to be prepared you should seek out a survival expert in your area to help you identify the edible insects that you can expect to find in your area)
- Brightly colored insects: The bright colors are usually a sign and warning to the insect’s predators that they are toxic and harmful.
- Hairy & Fuzzy Critters: The hairy and fuzzy insects can sometimes have hair that stings when it pokes you, as well as, stingers hidden within.
- Potent Smell: Bugs that have a potent scent are best to avoid. Just as with the bright colored insects the stinky smelling creepy crawlers are putting off a toxic scent that can taste disgusting or even be harmful.
It is always a really good idea to cook any of the insects you intend to consume. Some insects can carry parasites or bacteria just like animals. Cooking them will kill any bacteria or parasites, as well as, improving the taste.
5 Edible Insects
- Termites: Termites are loaded with protein just like most bugs. You can find them in rotting punky logs. When you find a nest quickly shake the insects out into your container because they will run and burrow further in the log making them really hard to get. Roast them in a dry pan until they’re crispy and enjoy. Do not use any oil or grease because it will just make them super soggy and ruins the taste.
- Crickets and Grasshoppers: These insects can be a little tricky to catch and it’s easier to have a net of some sort. When you have your bounty you need to remove the head. Pull the head off and the entrails should come out with it. You can eat the entrails but it’s best to remove them to avoid any possible parasites or bacteria. Remove the wings and legs and roast in a frying pan or on a skewer over the fire. Some of them taste kind of like chicken.
- Sowbugs: Sowbugs are also known as potato bugs or wood lice. These rollie pollies are not actually insects they are terrestrial crustaceans in North America. Toss them into a pot of boiling water and boil them for a few minutes. Strain when they’re done and eat them. They taste somewhat like shrimp.
- Grubs: Grubs are easy to harvest but they are far from most people’s favorite. Even though they aren’t a favorite when they are cooked right they can taste pretty good. The trick is to cook them until they are super crispy like a chip. They can be eaten raw but they do not taste good at all that way and they’re really chewy and kind of gross.
- Scorpions: If you are in an area where there are scorpions use a jar to catch them. Dig a hole and place the jar in the bottom. The scorpion will fall in and you can safely collect them. Kill the scorpion, remove the stinger, and roast over an open fire. I have never had one but I have heard that they taste similar to crab.
WatchMojo.com shows a video on the top 5 facts about eating bugs:
These insects are not the only edible ones out there. The list is rather long but here are a few more that didn’t make my list: Ants, earthworms, slugs, stink bugs, and snails. Whether you just want to find out how good they are or you are in a survival situation know that insects are a great option. Make sure you do research your insects and cook them well. Happy Bug Hunting!
Have you tried eating these kinds of insects before? Please add them in the comments below!
Here are some good bugs vs. bad bugs: 5 beneficial insects for the garden you might want to learn about!
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