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 Cooking With Insects

- Edible 'Bugs -

Summary: Insects and other arthropods are important sources of protein and fat in the diet of many cultures worldwide. Deliberate consumption of insects is much less common in the US but that is starting to change.

Jack DeAngelis, PhD
OSU Ext. Entomologist (ret.)

Who eats bugs?

Many cultures around the world use insects, and related arthropods such as spiders and scorpions, as a regular part of the diet. Both adult insects and larvae are consumed and these critters are surprisingly high in protein content and relatively low in saturated fat. Frequently insects are dried and ground into a sort of flour then mixed with grain flour to make breads, pasta, and so forth.

In the US, where deliberate consumption of arthropods is less common, the average consumer still gets a certain amount of arthropod protein in the form of harmless contaminants of cereals, peanut butter and similar processed food. In fact, a certain defined level of insect contamination is allowed in processed foods and it is completely harmless when consumed.

So, while insects consume a lot of the world's food supply in fields and warehouses they also contribute to it in many ways. Take a look at these book selections (right) for proven recipes and techniques for using insects in cooking. Bon appétit!

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Jack DeAngelis, Ph.D.

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