Eating mealworms !

Mealworms and locusts. a Healthy snack
CatherineL Prod stock photo

If you are looking for a protein rich healthy snack, then maybe you should consider fried mealworms!

Just saying worms puts many people off but they along with all the other creepy crawlies may be the answer to our nutritional issues. I shouldn’t really be describing them in such derogatory terms given the potential they have as a major food stuff so I’ll stop now!

Mealworm (Tenebrio sp.) Copyright: shenk1 / 123RF Stock Photo
Mealworm (Tenebrio sp.) Copyright: shenk1 / 123RF Stock Photo

The mealworm, the edible version that is of the larvae of the mealworm beetle Tenebrio molitor L (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), is a species of darkling beetle. They are generally pests and anyone with a food hygiene qualification will have been taught they are a spoiler of stored cereal grains.

However, they are being eaten regularly as a food. In the Far East, baking or frying them has turned them into a regular street delicacy. Those properties that make them a pest are ideal – their ease of cultivation and farming on various cereals means they are economically suited to larger scale production. Growth media include various grains – oats, barley with more moist foods to increase humidity and moisture levels. To ease their acceptance, these larvae are fed to poultry for example as a protein food source. Many of us are familiar with them as bird food or fish bait so application appears straight forward.  Commercial growers keep them at the larval stage so they grow larger  to about 2 cm. For human consumption it would be preferable to avoid any feeds which are controversial.

Taste – frying or baking gives them a bland flour like flavour. They are best seasoned with various spices or more simply with salt and pepper to give them a greater savoury appeal. Anyone interested in knowing how to source them and use them in products – please contact me !

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