This morning I took the plunge in deciding to give cricket powder a try. I’ve eaten bugs before, grubs, mealworms, Cajun crickets, chocolate covered ants and the like. It’s not a foreign concept for me but one of intrigue and I’m also looking to the future.
If we continue with current livestock farming practices and given our current population growth rate we may have big issues keeping pace with demand and needs. It’s likely not sustainable without significant changes in farming practices. Pound for pound insect protein is thousands of time more efficient than current livestock farming production. Insect protein can be produced on a more sustainable footing with a much smaller ecological footprint.
According to the Beef Research Council is takes 8 gallons of water per pound (30.2 L/0.5kg) of edible beef [^1] and 10.6 lbs of feed per pound (4.8kg/0.5kg) of edible beef.
Crickets, on the other hand, require 1 gallon of water per pound 3.8L/0.5kg) of protein and 3.7 lbs of feed per pound (1.7kg/1kg) of
The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) indicated in a recent study that 2 billion people globally consumed insects as part of their traditional diets[^3].
I have to admit that I was surprised at the nutrition profile of crickets. When people talk about superfoods crickets should be near the top of the list. Gram-to-gram the iron tops spinach by almost 2 times. It is also packed with vitamin B12 (24mcg per 100 grams), that’s 12 times the amount above the most popular food source, salmon.
Let’s talk about the protein. The above image is of the cricket powder I picked up. If you look you’ll see 13g of protein in 19g of powder. That’s 3x the protein that you would find in a steak! By dry weight
An additional point would be that cricket powder is gluten free.
Application and Taste
I would be remise if I didn’t talk about practical applications and taste. On that note, rather than rely on others’ anecdotes I plunged right in. I made some traditional pancakes with cricket flour.
The elephant in the room; the ‘ick’ factor. You just need to get over it. We are not talking about grabbing a cricket and popping it in your mouth (although the Cajun cricket trail mix I had was good and had whole crickets.) In this case, I’m using a highly refined powder. Suck it up.
Traditional Pancakes with a Cricket Twist
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup (40 g) cricket powder
3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 ¼ cups milk
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
Recipe from Entomo Farms: http://entomofarms.com/featured_item/traditional-pancakes-cricket-twist/
In terms of taste, many people online describe it as nutty and a bit gritty. I would describe it as a mild earthy taste but not unlike having a whole wheat pancake. It almost looked like a whole wheat pancake. I did pick up on the grittiness but it really wasn’t a big part of its taste or texture profile for me. I actually didn’t mind the taste. Add in the nutrition profile and you have a winner.
I did offer some to my youngest son. He jumped at the opportunity of having pancakes, hot off the stove… but he wasn’t too fond of them. He’s still young and it may be that his generation is truly going to have to – suck it up.
Have you eaten insects or had cricket pancakes? Let me know about your experiences in the comments.
Is your Witness dance card full? If not, vote for some of the good Witnesses below… cause they all just worked their ass off to mealworms the chain.
[^1]: Beef Research Council – http://www.beefresearch.ca/blog/cattle-feed-water-use/
[^3]: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations -http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/175922/icode/