Two-thirds of the world considers insects part of their diet. That fact may be hard for some to stomach, but bugs are eaten almost everywhere outside of North America and Europe.
If you can get past the initial “ick” factor, entomophagy, or the human consumption of insects, makes a lot of sense. Generally speaking, most bugs are high in protein and an excellent source of healthy fats, vitamins and nutrients.
They are also everywhere.
And more than likely, they are our future. A recent report states that half the ocean’s fish stock have been depleted. Per pound, large livestock like beef and pork require a tremendous amount of grain and water resources while emitting large quantities of greenhouse gases.
So unless you want to go vegetarian, the best way to get an animal protein that is truly sustainable, is with insects.
If that hasn’t sold you, here are six reasons you should at least give crickets a shot.
1. There is a reason they call crickets the gateway bug.
Crickets are a familiar presence and not altogether disturbing in appearance. With a flavor best described as nutty and a crunch, when roasted, that would make Pringles jealous, they are the perfect entry point for entomophagy.
2. Crickets leave almost no environmental impact.
Your average cow takes three years to reach slaughter weight, produces around 25–50 pounds of methane a day (dairy cows produce twice as much as beef cows), and requires thousands of gallons of water per pound.
Crickets, on the other hand, take only weeks to mature, produce roughly 80 times less methane and require almost no water.
3. Cricket protein is better than cow protein.
Ounce for ounce, cricket has almost twice as much protein as beef. Not only that, but their protein contains all nine essential amino acids. They also pack omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and more iron and magnesium than beef.
4. They taste great as tacos.
Traditional Oaxacan cuisine includes chapulines. Typically fried and seasoned with chile or lime, they taste great either tossed with onions and queso or just folded between a tortilla.
5. You can even use them for cookies and other baked goods.
Bitty Foods is a company making cricket flour with some hefty culinary backing – Chef Tyler Florence is their culinary director.
By combining ground cricket with cassava root and a few other ingredients, they make a flour that not only measures out equally with normal flour but is also gluten free.
6. Once you eat crickets the world opens up.
Before you know it you’ll be munching on mealworms, and actually enjoying ants at a picnic. With more than 1900 types of edible insects available, you have plenty of options.