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Eating Bugs

colorful grub

Photo by Rick Gush

Dinner, anyone?

I spotted the colorful grub shown above on my office windowsill the other day, and apart from marveling at the wonderful coloration of the creature, I was disappointed in myself that I didn’t eat it. We in the West are culinary wimps in regard to eating insects, and that’s a part of my psychological heritage that I don’t like very much. I wish I was a bug eater, but I’m not. Oh sure, like everybody from California, I’ve eaten a few chocolate-covered grasshoppers, but there is some weird uncertainty that keeps me from putting morsels like this grub in my mouth.

This situation is doubly frustrating because I know where to find a lot of potentially tasty bugs. Feeding hawks and robins with grubs has been a hobby of mine for many years. I’m good at digging around under leaf accumulations in the garden and woods, finding big fat grubs. These grubs can then be placed on a tall post or similar in an area known to contain sparrow hawks or robins. Once the grubs are wiggling, which is attractive to their eaters, I step back out of the way and wait for a bird customer for my offered snack. It doesn’t usually take too long for the birds to swoop down and scoop up the treat. I now find it annoying that I don’t chew on the succulent little creatures myself. I’ll bet they’d be great with a bit of miner’s lettuce or some wild asparagus.

I do think the bug-eating phobia Western society created will fade away in the upcoming decades. I predict that, in the future, many people in the Western world will cultivate worm and insect colonies that turn kitchen waste into edible worms and insects.

I know some farmers here in Italy who raise snails as a crop. Raising insects doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult, and I have raised mealworms. A plastic box filled with sawdust was the basis and then I added some fresh potato or apple and then some grains like oatmeal or birdseed for food. I’ve also raised crickets, and their culture is about the same, but they like a layer of dirt, some egg cartons to give them housing, and fruit and vegetable scraps for feed. I haven’t tried raising worms and crickets together, but it seems like a natural combination. I have raised a lot of worms, and I have a big box full of them now that I use to process our kitchen waste. Perhaps one of these days I’ll use some to make a casserole.

Click here for a nice list of various edible bugs:

Read more of Rick's Favorite Crops »

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I'm with you on this. I don't see myself becoming and insectian. Not going to happen. I don't mind snails, though I don't see them in the same vein as bugs. I do raise worms and feed them to my fish, and then eat the fish. But that's as close to that part of the food chain I care to get.
Bruce, Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 11/6/2012 10:19:44 AM

About the Blogger

Rick Gush

Rick Gush
Rick Gush has long been a staunch organic gardener. While a student at the University of California at Davis he worked at local tomato and sugar beet farms and continued in the agricultural and horticultural industries for many years. A career move in the 1990s led him to design computer games, but no matter how much of a techie he’s become, gardening and farming remain his principal passions.

In 2000, Rick moved to Italy, where he writes to you about his cliff garden and other experiences in Italian urban agriculture.

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