I know some of you have tried dried/roasted/boiled insects but what about fermented insects? In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) they are looking at fermented insects in the context of food security. Food security refers to the ‘provision of safe, nutritious and sufficient foods by means of unrestricted availability and access to the populace’. We don’t generally have a food security issue like that seen in SSA, but we should all be very conscious of our food especially after what we have been through recently with COVID 19.
The people of the SSA have been eating insects for some time but this recent study compared the micro and macronutrients of edible insects with our normal meats and the differences are incredible!
In comparison to our conventional animal sources such as beef, chicken and pork studies have found that edible insects are higher in protein, fat, and of course fibre but they also have the recommended daily intake of those essential amino acids.
Any foods that are fermented are usually have enhanced nutritional bioavailability, health-promoting constituents taste amazing of course so what about fermented insects? All of the above plus some anti-ageing properties (in rats), regulation of the nervous system and protection against the risks of cardiovascular diseases, very similar to other fermented food products.
Much like our vegetables and fruit that we ferment, edible insects are a seasonal crop (is that the right word😊) and depending on where they live dictates their nutritional characteristics. Edible insects include caterpillars, mopane worms, termites, crickets, palm weevils (I hear you), grasshoppers, locusts, beetles, ants and bees.
The products being made so far from fermented insects include sauces, fermented pastes, flour powders, peptides used in yoghurt and bread. Insects are often seen as pests but we still need them for our circle of life so it another fine balance that we have to consider.