Cricket Eating: How, Why & Other Facts to Know

Cricket Eating: How, Why & Other Facts to Know

By Chef Perry on Oct 08, 2019

What is considered “good food” or “bad food” is often based on historical myths, class-structure, and food-safety issues that we don’t even remember, and which are completely irrelevant in today’s society.

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Look, I get know? 

Someone starts talking about eating alternative proteins like crickets, and many folks first thought is, "Eating a BUG? GROSS!" 

We flash to scenes from Fear Factor and Bizarre Foods, and our stomachs revolt.

The problem is that when people think "insect protein" their mind goes to picking up the insect they see in their backyard and popping it into their mouths. In reality, crickets are expensive, and it's because a lot must go into farming and ensuring it's a high-quality food product.

Cultural Bias

I also understand, however, after 30 years as a professional chef and adventurous eater, that this reaction is based on nothing more than our own cultural bias.

What is considered “good food” or “bad food” is often based on historical myths, class-structure, and food-safety issues that we don’t even remember, and which are completely irrelevant in today’s society.

South American kids find peanut-butter revolting, many Asian countries turn up their nose at butter. What is cheese but mammary fluids squeezed from a cow’s nipples, curdled, and pressed into blocks?

In Thailand, kids clamor after vendors of fried tarantulas like they're the ice-cream man, while Polynesian men join expensive clubs to hunt (and eat) fruit-bats fattened and flavored on sweet, ripe guavas and mangos.

Even our beloved bacon...sliced belly-lard from a hog, cured with burning logs. 


Too often, our acceptability of the “acceptable” is based solely on what we are told is acceptable, and not on any rational, informed, personal experience. I, for one, refuse to accept that type of societal manipulation.

If we can just get past what our own culture has raised us to believe is good or bad, delicious or disgusting, then we begin to see that protein is protein is protein, whatever original form it may take, and micro-focusing on a small number of "high-carbon footprint" options (namely: beef, pork, chicken, salmon) is not only disastrous for the environment, but grossly limiting to our own nutritional variety. 


It also virtually guarantees that the food we feed our families is being raised en masse as quickly as possible without consideration of growth hormones, nutritional value, or the (often horrific) conditions these creatures live their brief, tortured lives and die in, simply to meet the demand of a population unwilling to look beyond our own cultural bias.


Why Eat Crickets?

Why eat crickets? For one, crickets are a high-protein, low-fat food source that can supply the human body with important vitamins, minerals, and healthy macro-nutrients. 

Not to mention that in many parts of the world, entomophagy (eating insects for food) is a common and vital part of a healthy diet. 

When we begin to understand and accept that crickets trump beef and pork pound-for-pound for protein, contain a fraction of the fat, and far exceed a steak in calcium and iron; we begin to understand our responsibility to our family, our future generations, and our planet to expand our horizons and become part of the solution. 

Amazingly sustainable to raise, and requiring a fraction of the resources (feed, water, and land) that other livestock's really like comparing the carbon footprint of a bicycle to that of a Semi-Truck.

There is a clearly intelligent and responsible choice here. 

Eat Crickets Raw or Roasted?

While crickets, like many insects, can be eaten alive, they are most often cooked to create a tastier meal (like virtually all proteins). As for what crickets taste like, you can think of it as a cross between a shrimp and roasted nuts, and most who are brave enough to try them (including myself) agree that they are delicious.

How to Prepare Crickets for Eating 

You can prepare and cook crickets in a variety of ways. Cooked crickets, in fact - whole or in powders - can be a tasty addition to salads, soups and stews, seasoning mixes, and even your morning smoothie! For most baking recipes, nutty dry roasted crickets can be ground and mixed with flour to replace actual nuts when baking cookies and cakes, creating a tasty and higher-protein equivalent, especially for those with common nut allergies. 

The application of this alternative protein it virtually limitless.

Crickets can also be turned into delicious sweet and/or spicy cricket snacks. Often dipped in chocolate, candied with a simple syrup, or roasted with cinnamon & sugar, they make for a crunchy, healthy, delicious snack. Sauté them in butter, a splash of balsamic vinegar, and some sea-salt, and you'll never go back to pop-corn and potato-chips! 

Seriously…as a 3rd-generation chef I’m telling you…they’re really, really good!

Typically, crickets are either eaten whole (roasted, pan-fried, etc.) or they're dry roasted and ground into a powder. Given their small size, there's really no culinary reason to chop them up, unless you want to serve them to someone in a way that they won't be recognized...

And that's just not nice. 😉  

One of my favorite ways to eat crickets...roasted with Mexican spices and served over fresh guacamole as a dip for warm corn tortilla chips! YUMM!

As far as availability as an ingredient, crickets haven't quite gone "mainstream" yet (though they're on their way!) so the variety of options are still fairly limited. Whole Crickets (live or pre-cooked), Cricket Powders/Flours, and Cricket-based Protein Bars are the most commonly available, and can be purchased through a number of online retailers. 

Cricket "Flours"

Cricket flours and powders are probably the best method to “ease into” the world of alternative proteins, especially for those who are still hesitant about seeing a "bug" in their dinner.

Crickets can be roasted (350F) with your favorite seasonings until very dry, then ground to a fine, nutritious powder in a blender or spice grinder. The nutty-tasting powdered results can then be added, like a flour, to your favorite baking recipes, and is amazing in pestos, moles, and pasta sauces. Cricket powders are also readily available online. 

If you're looking to satisfy a sweet tooth, check out EXO’s Protein Loaded Banana Bread…SO good!

So, regardless of what form you choose to take your alternative protein in, I’m asking you as a Chef, and as a parent…don’t be shackled to an unhealthy and unsustainable lifestyle simply because you’ve been told what is acceptable and what isn’t.

Be brave!

Be adventurous!

And help make the world a better place for our future generations…

One cricket at a time.


~Chef Perry

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