Crickets are a rich source of protein, zinc, vitamin B12, riboflavin, calcium, iron, and contain many more nutrients. Crickets take very little food, water, time, and space to mature, making them incredibly eco-friendly. Unfortunately, Western culture has deemed eating insects as repulsive. That’s why cricket flour may be a possible solution to this good food source.
Western culture (Canada, the United States, and western Europe) are pretty much alone with their fear of eating bugs. 80% of the world eats insects.
There are at least 1,900 species of edible insects worldwide. Crickets are a good food choice because of their nutrition profile, and how minimal of an environmental footprint they have. Crickets also have a rather plain and tolerable flavour. However, we have a hard time getting over the appearance of these little creatures.
While it is perfectly healthy to eat crickets in their whole form, most of us would rather not put a six-legged, antennaed, winged creature directly into our mouths. How often do we want to see the face of the food we eat? Western cultures have separated the animal from the meat. Seafood is one of the rare exceptions where it’s tolerable to have a complete animal plated in front of us. Even then most of Western society would opt for a filleted fish.
Cricket flour is a recent attempt made in Western culture to mask this insect and make it psychologically edible. Cricket flour is used around the world and there are many ancient cultures, like the Aztecs, that crushed crickets into flour for baking. Cricket flour is made from common house crickets (Acheta domesticus). They are roasted and then finely ground into a powdery consistency. It looks similar to brown sugar and you’d have a hard time ever knowing that it used to be a cricket.
These are the same type of crickets you can get at most pet stores for lizard food. They’re completely edible and are rather tasteless.
Crickets are one of the most environmentally friendly sources of protein. According to Arnold van Huis, an entomology professor in the Netherlands, crickets produce the most edible weight for the amount of needed feed compared to poultry, pork, and beef. It takes 1% of the water to produce the same weight of protein from crickets as it would for raising cattle.
Cricket flour can be used as a substitute for all-purpose flour. However, due to the lack of starch, cricket flour doesn’t have the same binding properties as an all-purpose flour.
No matter what our reason for being afraid of bugs, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t eat them, or at least some of them.
Check out this great video from the founder of Chapul Cricket Bars, Pat Crowley. Crowley explains the environmental reason why eating bugs is so beneficial.
We wouldn’t suggest crickets without trying them out ourselves. The Good Whole Food office tried out Chapul’s four Cricket Bar flavours. We’ll be honest, there were mixed reviews.
The Chaco and Thai were the overall favourites, and the office found the Matcha bars to be unappealing. Personally, I really enjoyed the Thai and Aztec bars and would eat these on a daily basis. I enjoyed the Chaco, but I didn’t love it as much as some of my coworkers. The Matcha was the only bar I wouldn’t buy again. It is also the newest product Chapul has to offer and has no online reviews at the moment.
They have a nutty flavour, and you’d never guess they were made from crickets. It is an eco-friendly way to add good protein to your diet. They’re made from great, natural ingredients. They are soy, gluten, GMO, and dairy free.
If you’re looking to add protein into your life and reduce your carbon footprint then crickets may be the way to go. Cricket flour is healthy, environmentally friendly, and is a great way to mask the fact that you’re eating bugs.
Warning: Crickets are arthropods, like crustaceans. People with shellfish allergies may also be allergic to crickets. If you have a shellfish allergy please consult a doctor before consuming cricket flour (or other insects).