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Preparing insects pre-cooking?

graydyn Jun 17, 2011 02:22 PM

Any insects I've ever tried where pre-cooked and packaged, and I'm not sure but I think they tasted sort of stale. I would like to try capturing them myself so I can fry them up fresh, but I'm not sure if they need to be specially prepared.
I was thinking I could catch or maybe farm some ants or grasshoppers, but I'm not sure if I should clean them in some way or feed them something in particular? (grass fed ants?)
Does anybody have any experience in this matter? Any leads at all would be much appreciated.

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  1. s
    sueatmo RE: graydyn Jun 17, 2011 02:28 PM

    Try Googling "cicada cuisine" and you will get several articles including one from Bloomington IN about someone who ate several cicadas and suffered a severe allergic reaction. Cicadas have invaded the midwest, and apparently there are some people who eat them.

    1. e
      ediblover RE: graydyn Jun 17, 2011 03:40 PM

      The only common precaution is to starve them a bit at the end so they're... Done with the digestion process.

      If you want something scary, I could point out that toxins they come in contact can affect you, but, really... Just about any level of substance that's remotely harmful to us would have killed the insect outright.

      Does give another meaning to "ant farm," no?

      1 Reply
      1. re: ediblover
        graydyn RE: ediblover Jun 20, 2011 07:25 AM

        Maybe a combination of the sweet potatoe KungPao mentions below and starving them would do the trick. I was also considering going outside the city for harvesting to ensure that mini-game have been eating well.

      2. inaplasticcup RE: graydyn Jun 17, 2011 07:44 PM

        So curious as to the seasonings you're going to use...?

        2 Replies
        1. re: inaplasticcup
          graydyn RE: inaplasticcup Jun 20, 2011 07:27 AM

          Just salt/oil for me. More experienced entomophages may have more elaborate recipes.

          1. re: graydyn
            inaplasticcup RE: graydyn Jun 20, 2011 07:42 AM

            entomophage. New word on me. Thank you, graydyn. :)

            I was apparently an entomophage when I was a child. In Korea, they sell bundaegi (silkworm larvae, I think) on the streets. Very nutty and toasty as I recall. Can't seem to work up an appetite for one now, but I'd eat it again on a dare.

        2. g
          gilintx RE: graydyn Jun 17, 2011 10:41 PM

          I once saw Gordon Ramsey prep snails from his back yard for cooking. He fed them shredded carrot until they were pooping orange. That way, he knew he had gotten everything out of their systems. It took a few days, but it seems worth it for the reassurance.

          1 Reply
          1. re: gilintx
            jumpingmonk RE: gilintx Jun 18, 2011 04:21 AM

            A standard trick used with a lot of the softer insects is to keep them in a box full of oatmeal for a week or two, for the same reason (this is also used if one is cooking earthworms)

          2. k
            KungPao RE: graydyn Jun 18, 2011 08:47 AM

            I'd suggest finding a local pet store that sells large live crickets and the like for feeding reptiles. Bring them home and put them in old tupperware with holes poked in the top and sides for ventilation. Feed them sweet potato until their excrement is orange. If your feeling adventurous you can check out some of the other bugs they sell like mealworms, wax worms, night crawlers etc. Make sure to purge them using the same method above!

            2 Replies
            1. re: KungPao
              EricMM RE: KungPao Jun 18, 2011 09:00 AM

              Have you ever smelled those insects? I feed them to my leopard geckoes. While I know they are perfectly edible, and would like to try them (hopefully prepared by someone well versed in this cuisine), the smell is horrendous, and would turn me off.

              1. re: EricMM
                KungPao RE: EricMM Jun 18, 2011 09:17 AM

                Give them a clean habitat and a little space and you'll be surprised at how less offensive the aroma becomes. I worked at pet stores as a teenager to my early twenties and know that the over crowded and humid conditions they are kept in can contribute alot to the foul smell most people associate with them. I've deep fried crickets in a wok using the above mentioned method, and they tasted and smell fresh.

            2. arashall RE: graydyn Jun 20, 2011 08:10 AM

              Hmmm....now you have me wondering if the bugs sold in Thailand go through any special sort of preparation. I'm betting they don't.

              1 Reply
              1. re: arashall
                inaplasticcup RE: arashall Jun 20, 2011 08:27 AM

                Awww... You just brought back a fond memory of helping an elderly couple collect what looked like really big cicadas on the beach in Phuket. We didn't eat them, though. They probably taste like silkworm larvae. :P

              2. absurdnerdbird RE: graydyn Jun 20, 2011 08:53 AM

                This book might help...

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