Introduction to “Entomophagy” Lab, 2017




     Can insects be considered as being edible and a good source of carbohydrates (lipids and protein)? Edible insects; you may feel that these two words do not even belong in the same sentence. You have every right to be skeptical. In all probability, you have never deliberately eaten an insect. However you have probably inadvertently consumed over a pound of insects in your lifetime. There is a term for this. The word is Entomophagy (en-ta-ma-f-a-gy) or bug eating.


     Some insects are edible. In fact, most insects are edible, but there are a few species that are especially palatable, nutritious, and easily obtainable. Many species of insects are lower in fat, higher in protein, and have a better feed to meat ratio than beef, lamb, pork, or chicken. Insects are tasty. Even if you are too squeamish to have them as a main dish, you can make insect flour and add it to bread and other dishes for an added protein boost. Insects and some crustaceans contain a primary source of carbohydrates (polysaccharide) called “chitin” that makes up their exoskeleton or outer shell.


There are 1,462 recorded species of edible insects:

100 grams of cricket contains: 121 calories, 12.9 grams of protein, 5.5 g. of fat, 5.1 g. of carbohydrates, 75.8 mg. calcium, 185.3 mg. of phosphorous, 9.5 mg. of iron, 0.36 mg. of thiamin, 1.09 mg. of riboflavin, and 3.10 mg. of niacin.

Compare this with ground beef, which, although it contains more protein (23.5 g.), also has 288.2 calories and a whopping 21.2 grams of fat!

Insects are commonly found in the following foods:

Apple butter - 5 insects per 100g
Berries - 4 larvae per 500g OR 10 whole insects per 500g
Ground paprika - 75 insect fragments per 25g
Chocolate - 80 microscopic insect fragments per 100g
Canned sweet corn - 2.3mm-length larvae, cast skins or fragments
Cornmeal - 1 insect per 50g
Canned mushrooms - 20 maggots per 100g
Peanut butter - 60 fragments per 100g (136 per lb)
Tomato paste, pizza, and other sauces - 30 eggs per 100g OR 2 maggots per 100g
Wheat flour - 75 insect fragments per 50g


     Your insect consumption adds up. Flour beetles, weevils, and other insect pests that infest granaries are milled along with the grain, finally ending up as tiny black specks in your piece of bread. Small grubs and other tiny insects can be found in your fruit and vegetables. Insects are especially common in canned and other types of processed food, and even in certain beverages, like apple cider for instance. They process the fallen and or rotten apples including the worms and insects who have found the apples on the ground. It is virtually impossible that you have not ingested insects in one form or another during your lifetime. And it probably did not harm you, but instead did you some good by providing extra carbohydrates and protein in your meal! If insects are prepared and cooked properly, then the insects can be considered edible and nutritious.




Sample Recipes

Stir Fried Insects

vegetable oil 

1 tablespoon of salt

1 tablespoon of corn starch

1 small onion

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

1 can of sliced water chestnuts

1 can of pineapple chunks

1 bag of white rice

candy thermometer (take temperature of oil)

Wok (optional)

a desired amount of insects (ie. hoppers, mealworms, centipedes, various bugs); note: use roaches/scorpions if available.




1. Remove and discard the solid wing covering flaps, all legs, head, and/or stinger of each animal.   

2. Begin making the rice separately according to directions on bag. (basically 1 cup of rice in 2 cups of boiling water –

    simmer for about 7-8 minutes)

3. Prepare the oil by placing ~ 1/4 of an inch of oil on the bottom of a deep sauce pan and heating the oil to ~ 260 F

4. “Carefully” put a whole animal into a pot of heated oil and quickly fry for 60 seconds. Remove animal and place

     on plate with a paper towel. Repeat.

5. Add 4 tablespoons of oil into a deep sauce pan or wok and heat.

6. Add salt and corn starch for about 5 minutes

7. Put all vegetables and fruit into it to stir fry for 5 minutes.

8. Place the animals, vegetables and fruits onto a bed of white rice.   




Chocolate Covered Insects


3-4 packages of semisweet chocolate squares

wax paper

a desired amount of insects (ie. hoppers, mealworms, centipedes, various bugs)

Bake insects at 325 F until crunchy (the time needed varies from oven to oven). Heat the squares of semi sweet chocolate in a double boiler (not sure ask how to do this) until melted. Dip the dry roasted animals in the melted chocolate one by one, and then set the chocolate covered animals out to dry on a piece of wax paper.

Insect Fried Rice

1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup chopped onions
4 teaspoons of soy sauce
1/8 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 cup of rice
a desired amount of insects (ie. hoppers, mealworms, centipedes, various bugs)

Scramble egg in a saucepan, stirring to break egg into pieces. Add water, soy sauce, garlic, onions and animals. Bring to a boil. Stir in rice. Cover; remove from heat and let stand five minutes. Note: Don’t cook rice separately.




Chocolate Chip Insect Cookies


2-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 eggs
1 12 oz bag chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts
a desired amount of insects (ie. hoppers, mealworms, centipedes, various bugs)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In large bowl, combine butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla; beat until creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually add flour mixture and insects; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded measuring teaspoonfuls onto un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.


Insect Crunch

1/2 cup butter
1/8 cup honey
plain (no butter or salt) popcorn (pre-made suggested)

a desired amount of insects (ie. hoppers, mealworms, centipedes, various bugs)

Slowly heat butter and honey and mix well. Mix the insects with the popcorn and pour in the butter/honey mixture and stir well. Spread this out on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Arrange to your desire and serve.




Sautéed Insects


1/3 cup butter

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

a desired amount of insects (ie. hoppers, mealworms, centipedes, various bugs)



Melt butter, add garlic and sauté for several minutes to blend flavors and then add insects. Sauté for an additional 10 minutes or until tender.




Insect Patties


1 egg

1 small onion

salt and pepper (hot chili: optional)

bread crumbs

a desired amount of insects (ie. hoppers, mealworms, centipedes, various bugs)



Finely chop a cup of insects in a food processor (a blender would be difficult) with an egg, half a small onion, season with salt, pepper or even hot chili and enough bread crumbs to form dough. Mold the dough into patties and grille or pan fry until brown