What Do Edible Insects Taste Like?
Growing up in Western countries, we were never taught about the culture of cooking insects and the benefits of eating them; however, the truth is that insects are one of the most sustainable superfoods in the world! Not only are they high in protein, but also insects are rich in potassium, calcium, vitamin B12, iron and more!
And insects are incredibly tasty! Many edible species have a very mild nutty taste which means they are easy to incorporate into your favourite daily meals – both sweet and savoury.
In this post, we're answering all of the most popular questions we get about what to expect when eating insects for the first time.
What do different edible insects taste like?
Not all insects taste the same, and some of them have more distinctive flavours than others; however, overall, the taste of most insects is very mild which makes them a perfect addition to any meal – no matter if it's sweet or savoury!
Below, we've compiled a list of the most popular edible insects and described their subtle tastes.
Locusts – yeasty taste that reminds of Twiglets
Crickets – earthy and nutty
Mealworms – mild shrimp-like
Ants – zesty citrus
June Beetles – shrimp
Water bugs – aniseed-flavoured crab
Does what insects eat impact how they taste?
What insects are fed on can definitely affect their flavour. Bugs fed on a feed that's similar to fish-meal may end up having a fishier taste, while insects fed on a diet of grains and oats will taste maltier.
It is a common practice to stop feeding insects before they are killed to ensure they have processed everything they ate and there's no half-digested food left in their stomachs.
What to expect when eating insects for the first time?
Since most insects are rather tiny, their texture isn't very meaty and you may expect them to be crunchy (especially when roasted!). Larger insects however, such as locusts, are a bit meatier.
And if you're planning to tuck in some mealworms, know that they will be a bit squidgy. However, if you fry them on high heat, all those fats inside will start frying off and they will expand into crispy mealworms similar to puffed chips.
Do insects have shells or bones?
Insects have shells (or more correctly exoskeletons) which shouldn't be a problem when eating smaller insects since their exoskeletons are still quite soft. If you want to eat some bigger bugs, you will need to remove the hardest parts of the exoskeleton. These larger critters may also have legs or wings with spines which can be dangerous if swallowed, so always remove them. For example, large legs of locusts shouldn't be eaten as they have sharp points which may irritate your throat.
What's the best way to cook edible insects?
Fresh insects are best blanched to kill any bacteria; however, if you've bought roasted insects, you can quickly heat them up in a frying pan with a splash of oil or in an oven to preserve their crunchiness and enhance the flavour.
We wouldn't recommend boiling your insects as it will make them blander, and softer and it will leach out more of the nutrients.
If you are looking for some insect-based recipe ideas, check out this post:
Now that you already know what to expect when eating insects, it's time to try them yourself! Click the link below to shop our range of delicious, roasted crickets 👇
Leo & Aaron