That’s not a typo, it is actually meant to read “Our bug adventures”, not “Our big adventures”.. did you get a bit confused there for a second?!
If you read the blog post we did about our 2015 Paleo Camping Retreat you’ll know we’re open to eating bugs, because one of our awesome sponsors Primal Collective gave us tubs of roasted crickets! They actually just taste like savoury popcorn, serious! And as we’ve discovered recently catching and cooking up some bugs ourselves.. there’s not a great deal of flavour. Generally speaking anyway. It’s more the mindset and the look of them that’s hard to get your head around. But once you get past that and free yourself of the ick-factor so many people naturally have at first, it’s really quite a positive experience!
Humans have been eating bugs since humans first walked the earth. Insects are just another rung on the food chain ladder. But these days, with the modern conveniences we’re used to such as shops selling pre-cut pieces of attractive-looking muscle meats.. we are really out of touch with what our food originally looked like, where it comes from and how it lived before it served the purpose of feeding another form of life. I.e. Us!
The fact humans do naturally eat bugs for survival and fuel seems to have been forgotten.
So because this is such a unique thing in the eyes of most, Clint and I thought we’d write about our bug hunting and eating adventures in the hopes of inspiring others to get on the insect train!
Our friend Dan the Aussie Paleo Chef has been eating bugs for a while. He often sends us photos of scorpions and other insects he finds in the bush near him in Canberra and then cooks up at home in coconut oil and other typical paleo flavourings. He’s really inspired us, we’d wanted to do this ourselves for a long time but were always a bit nervous about the safety of it. There’s so little information on the internet about which bugs are safe to eat, we just didn’t want to eat something that ended up being poisonous. Of course!
But a few weeks ago a new friend of ours saw an article we shared on Facebook by Stirring Change on eating dehydrated ants and indicated she was keen to try this herself. So we asked if she’d like to come on a bug hunt with us and she jumped at the chance!
We picked a day and a location and off we went into the bush to catch us some bugs! Our friend Sarah and her son had a list of edible insects they’d found online and Clint and I were pretty well read on the bugs in the area that would be safe to consume. We took some gloves, plastic containers and headed down the main track of a local parkland, turning over logs, sifting through leaf litter and basically looking in all the places we figured bugs would be.
We must admit, it was a pretty slow process! There weren’t as many rocks and logs as we’d hoped, but over the course of an hour or two we ended up a few keepers…
That big sucker is actually a giant centipede! Plus there’s a witchitty grub-type thing, a bush cockroach and a beetle.
This little guy is a regular centipede. Not to be confused with millipedes which we read are not safe to eat. To tell the difference, centipedes only have one leg per body segment, whereas millipedes have more.
“But don’t centipedes contain poison?” I hear you say? They do indeed but we’d read that cooking the bugs cooks out this poison, making them totally safe to eat!
Only 4 bugs (the beetle didn’t seem worth it so we didn’t include him) and 4 people to share around to.. hmmm. Sarah ended up letting us take them home to eat. I think she was still too nervous to cook them up herself! We didn’t mind!
She had wanted to score a haul of ants to take home to dehydrate, but when we started trying to catch some ants at the beginning of our trek we soon realised they are pretty hard to get! They’re really quick, so when you manage to get one or more in a container, you have others trying to get out at the same time. We figured we’d need to design our own ant-catcher contraption, or go home and Google for some ideas. So that’ll be for another bug hunting expedition!
Clint and I took these few bugs home and fried them in just coconut oil and salt. The centipedes and roach turned out perfectly; nice and crispy. The grub, however, wasn’t so nice, but we found out later from our friend The Free-ranging Chef that we needed to cook it slightly differently so we’ll definitely keep that in mind for next time.
Yes, there’ll be a next time! We’re already planning the next Bug Hunt! Cos, well, you could say … we’ve caught the bug for it..! haha sorry, couldn’t resist!
Next week we’re planning to try catching ants with a homemade trap (cos they are fast little buggers and tricky to catch!) to dehydrate. Plus more general insects so we can keep experimenting and hopefully enjoy a bigger feed!
So as well as the actual bug hunting, we also eat farmed bugs. The roasted crickets are great, but recently we also found out about cricket FLOUR! Or “powder” to be exact, because of the texture roasted crickets become when broken down.
Our new friends from Bugsy Bros in Brisbane sell packets of cricket powder and kindly gave us some to play around with. I’ve been cooking with it and really like it!
I even used it in a recipe I gave at my last Sunny Coast cooking demo… Mini Banana Muffins… and the tasters when down a treat! They’re a great addition for kids and adults lunchboxes because they’re small but filling and nourishing. That extra protein helps you stay fuller longer, and the exclusion of nuts, and even coconut flour, means there’s less chance of bloating and feeling ‘heavy’ after eating, unlike many paleo muffin recipes.
Would you like the recipe for the muffins so you can easily test out the cricket powder without it being a really strong and overpowering taste experience? And also to hide it from the kids? Here it is!
MINI BANANA MUFFINS
You’ll need these:
1 cup Natural Evolution banana flour (found here)
3 tbsp Bugsy Bros cricket powder (grab some here)
3 large organic bananas (brown spots are best!)
1-2 tsp each of pure vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg
Honey to sweeten (1 tbsp. – 1 cup.. It’s up to you!)
1/2 tsp each of bicarb (aluminium-free), baking powder (gluten and rice-free) and Himalayan salt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 pastured eggs
3 tbsp. coconut oil or ghee
- Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celcius
- Place all ingredients in a food processor (or leave out bananas if you want chunky muffins. Add them in at the very end and blitz for a second or two) and mix well
- Grease some mini muffin trays/moulds with coconut oil or ghee, then spoon mixture into trays/moulds and place on a baking tray in the oven
- Bake for 15-20 mins or until golden brown on top
Tip: place slices of banana on top before baking to make them prettier!
Ideas: swap banana for pumpkin or sweet potato (to help bind and moisten but with less sugar), add dates for extra sweetness, add whole blueberries, turn into savoury muffins with grated veggies and savoury spices/herbs… there are so many ways to change this recipe to suit your health needs and tastes!
These muffins are nutrient-dense so a few are very filling and great for school and work lunchboxes. They are nut-free which is great for schools or when having kids’ friends over who have allergies. They can be made coconut-free by using ghee or olive oil instead of coconut oil (the cricket powder is high in protein so it’s a perfect swap).
Storage Tip: Double the quantity, make large batches and store in bags or containers in the freezer to thaw and use when needed! For use within a few days store in an air-tight container out of the fridge.
So there you have it.. you’re up to date with our recent bug adventures and even scored a healthy and yummy recipe you can use insects in!
We hope this inspires you to step outside your comfort zone and try bugs if you haven’t before. Life’s so much more interesting and fun when we walk outside of those boring comfort zones and try new experiences 🙂
Please let us know how you go with bug hunting and/or eating, we’d love to hear from you!
Stay tuned for Part 2 🙂
Aimee (and Clint!)
PLEASE NOTE THAT MANY INSECTS ARE CLASSED AS CRUSTACEANS DUE TO THEIR SHELLS SO ALWAYS BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU CONSUME IN REGARDS TO ALLERGIES
5 Things We’re Grateful for Today:
- Trying cool new foods like bugs and cricket powder
- The rain on the garden today
- Clint having a good birthday yesterday and loving his gifts
- Special friends who bring joy to our lives
- Natural movement and play