Product design student Courtney Yule has created a cookery kit to encourage us to include insects in our daily dietary intake. Insects, like grasshoppers, caterpillars and beetles are widely eaten in many parts of the world, but not so much in western developed nations.
Ms. Yule Tweets that people should try the chocolate cricket fondue.
Even though insects are low in calories and fat, but high in protein and minerals, most people in western cultures prefer consuming high calorie processed foods, which is probably partly why obesity rates are so much higher than in several Asian countries, where insects are popular.
Insect eating is common to many cultures in North, Central and South America; and Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. About 80% of the world’s countries are known to eat more than 1,000 species of insects.
Insects are good for you, says Ms. Yule, and could help feed the world’s growing population. (Image: Twitter)
As part of her degree show at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland, Ms. Yule has designed a Starter Kit for turning insects into a meal.
Ms. Yule said she became interested in entomophagy – the practice of eating insects, including arachnids (tarantulas) and myriapods (centipedes) – when reading that it could be the best way to feed our world’s growing population.
Harvesting insects is environmentally friendly
Insect farming, known more commonly as harvesting insects, is more environmentally-friendly than conventional livestock farming, says scientists. Raising livestock requires enormous amounts of land, crops to feed them, and animals and equipment which produce loads of greenhouse gases.
Ms. Yule’s Entopod, which looks like an insect, encourages the idea of insects as a source of sustenance, while at the same time trying to help people get over the ‘yuck factor’ which puts so many of us off tasting them.
The Entopod includes a grinder that makes ‘insect flour’. It will be exhibited at Edinburgh Napier’s 2015 Degree Show from May 22.
Edinburgh Evening News quoted Ms. Yule, who said:
“The main barrier is obviously getting consumers to accept the idea of eating insects. Before I began this work I didn’t even like to touch them, but I don’t have any problem with eating them now and it is a practice which is growing in popularity every day.”
Grasshopper chocolate foundue is said to be super tasty! (Image: Twitter)
“People think nothing about eating prawns and shrimps but they have a different reaction to grasshoppers and crickets. However, the more you read about the health benefits, the less bothered you become.”
“You can do anything with insects; sweet and sour grasshopper, mealworm macaroni, lime and ginger locusts or cricket cookies.”
According to a study she carried out, the majority of people would consider eating insects. Their creepy-crawly aspect is a major obstacle however, including for those who enjoy eating shrimps or lobsters.
You would be surprised at how nice they are after the first bite, Ms. Yule said.
A starter kit to get over creepy-crawly jitters
She wondered whether interest in experimenting with entomophagy might be easier if people had a starter kit.
With the starter kid you can grind the insects into a flour and follow specially-created recipes to make shakes and other tasty treats. There are detachable containers so you can heat the food on the hob, microwave or in a conventional oven.
There is even the possibility of making an insect fondue with a candle underneath. The kit also includes skewers for kebab or BBQ-type meals.
Ms. Yule added:
“A lot of people are now supplying dried insects but in the course of my research I have not seen any other products which help in preparing them to eat.”
“I am now at the stage of tweaking design components, and although the prototype is white I am also working on bright neon and anodised colours resembling the natural colouring of insects. After the degree show, I will be taking it down to the New Designers show in London in July.”