No, this isn’t a “Fear Factor” challenge. It’s a real question you might be asking yourself at the grocery store in the near future—eating insects is both healthy and environmentally friendly, and can also be delicious. But before you answer, let’s address a few more questions about this alternative ingredient.
Why NOT Eat Crickets?
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about 20 percent of the world’s consumers eat insects as part of their traditional diets. It just so happens that most of those billions of people don’t live in Western societies.
What Does Cricket Flour Taste Like?
Nothing crazy! The consensus seems to be that it possesses a somewhat nutty flavor.
How Is Cricket Flour Made?
There’s no great way to put this, but it involves roasting crickets and then milling them into a powder-like consistency. The good news is, once that process is complete, you can almost forget that bugs were ever a part of the picture. There’s nothing insect-looking about flour.
So Since It’s Flour, Can I Bake with It?
Yes and no. While the name “cricket flour” caught on to describe the end product of the process we just described, it’s really closer to a protein powder that would (and could) be added to shakes and smoothies. There are a few companies who sell cricket flour for baking purposes, but those have been supplemented with additional types of alternative flours.
Is Cricket Flour Good for You?
It’s actually packed with good stuff: protein and essential amino acids, more iron on a gram-per-gram basis than spinach, and as much calcium as milk. But it’s not just good for your body; it’s also good for the planet.
Wait, What? How?
Compared to other animal protein sources like cows and pigs, a cricket’s carbon footprint is teeny. Crickets require far less food, water, and land. And since they reach maturity at just six weeks old, they don’t even require those resources for a full two months.
Where Can I Buy Cricket Flour?
If you’re interested in trying your hand at some baked goods using cricket flour, check out Bitty Foods or the aptly named Cricket Flours, which also sells a pre-packaged brownie mix. For cookie lovers, a company called Chirps offers a chocolate chip mix that claims to include 15 crickets per cookie!
What if I Want to Buy a Pre-Made Cricket Snack?
At the moment, your options are mostly chips or protein bars.
A company called Exo boasts a protein bar recipe formulated by a three-Michelin-starred chef. The bars come in five familiar flavors — PB & J, Blueberry Vanilla, Banana Bread, Apple Cinnamon, and Cocoa Nut — and each contains 10 grams of protein, or six to eight crickets per bite!
Still Not Convinced?
What if we told you that famed billionaire Mark Cuban is a cricket flour believer? In fact, he invested in both Chapul and Chirps when they made their pitches on “Shark Tank.”
Could Cricket Flour Make ME Rich?
We’re not here to advise on financial investments, but we can say that adding some crickets to your diet may make you, and the Earth, healthier. Not to mention that you’ll look like a badass for eating bugs.
Now that you have the lay of the cricket landscape, what do you think? Would you eat cricket flour?
— Head photo: Live Longer.