Entomophagy: Please Pass the Crickets

August 9, 2014 | 5 comment(s)

Entomophagy: Please Pass the Crickets

A few months ago, I was introduced to a company called Chapul on a popular television show. They were trying to get financial backing for a new type of  energy bar that they claim offers more iron than spinach, more protein than beef, and as much B12 as salmon through  entomophagy...

Which means eating bugs. For real.

The pitchmen for the company touted the health benefits of the cricket flour they use for their bars, along with the sustainability of insect harvesting, and the fact that North America and Europe are basically the only places on the globe where eating bugs is not routine. I was unconvinced. And then I saw this headline, from the NY Daily News:

“California hiker survives on bugs and snow for 6 days after breaking leg on mountain”

Apparently Gregg Hein was solo hiking (moral of the story: never hike alone, unless bugs are your cup of tea) when a falling boulder broke his leg and stranded him on the side of a mountain. Miles from anyone, with no way to call for help, and two days away from his scheduled return, Hein waited it out the only way he knew how.

Survival nuts like Bear Grylls have been telling us for ages that it can be done (watch here as he eats an enormous wood grub!), but how many of us would voluntarily choke down a creepy-crawly, in or out of a survival situation?

Lots of us, it turns out.

Over the last couple of years, such credible outlets as The New Yorker, The National Journal, and slate.com have all published articles on the benefits of entomophagy. Slate even offers this handy nutritional chart, comparing chicken, beef, and fish to worms, flies, and cockroaches.


 Entomophagy: Please Pass the Crickets

A bizarrely compelling How Stuff Works article, titled “How Entomophagy Works,” cautions us against scrounging for snacks in our backyard (pesticides are a problem in residential areas), but does offer some helpful guidelines for bug eating in survival situations.


What do you think? Are you up for adding dehydrated worms or cricket meal to your food storage? Could you eat something with lots of legs if your life depended on it?




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  • Methane Creator  |  August 12, 2014

    Got me hooked! I'll try anything once. They have a big bug eating contest in Austin, TX every year.

  • Jennie  |  August 12, 2014

    I have had many species of bugs on many different occasions and have not noticed the texture or an "off" taste from any that I have ever tired. Stir fry is a good way to experiment.

    My first bug was in a class for horticulture and the guest speaker brought "chocolate chip chripies" for everyone. Ground crickets in a chocolate chip cookie recipie. Very good! They taste like nuts. You can feed crickets lemons or oranges for two weeks and they will take on the taste of what they are feeding from.

    You just have to get over the yuck factor !

  • beprepared  |  August 13, 2014

    Methane Creator,
    Really?! What are the contests like? Are they similar to pie eating contests? (so, how many bugs can you stick in your mouth at once, haha). If you can, I think you should go to the contest and then tell us what it's like!

  • beprepared  |  August 13, 2014

    That's a pretty cool tip about feeding crickets lemons or oranges. I think that's a great way to get over the fear of eating bugs. Would you ever consider eating freeze-dried bugs during an emergency? Or even stocking up on the energy bars we talk about in the post?

  • Arrowroot  |  September 3, 2014

    Actually, we all are already eating insects, and other critter parts. The FDA regulations allow for a certain amount of them in our food and they deem it safe.

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