Eating Mealworms

Eating MealwormsLuckily, mealworms are easy for the squeamish to eat, or those new to insect consumption; they are small and lack a definitive or strong taste, making them a healthy addition to numerous recipes.

Adding merely a light, nutty hint to recipes, they’re a convenient and healthy addition to a wide variety of meals. As a breakfast food, they can be mixed with oatmeal, cereal and omelets. For supper, most recipes calling for rice go well with the addition of mealworms, as do many soups. They particularly enhance several Mexican dishes, including enchiladas, quesadillas and tostadas. Add to puddings or cookies for dessert.


Collection and Preparation of Mealworms:

To raise mealworms for human consumption, experiment with feeding the worms various diets. A diet of citrus fruits, such as oranges, for example, can result in a slightly sweeter batch of worms. Fruits chosen should have substance, though, and not be too watery. More fibrous fruits are ideal; for example, apples or peaches are preferred over plumbs and watermelon, as the more liquid fruits tend to make a mess of the tank, create mold, and aren’t readily consumed by the worms.

A day before collecting the mealworms, separate them from substrate and meal, placing them in an empty bin. This is called purging, and it allows the mealworms to rid their system of frass (insect fecal matter). This same practice is performed on farm-raised shellfish and snails. It is not a necessary step, although some do prefer it when consuming whole animals.

When this is complete, place the worms in the back of the freezer (not the fridge, which is too warm), at 0-10 degrees Fahrenheit for at least a day (storing them in the freezer for longer periods of time does no harm, though). Although some opt to boil them alive, this practice is considered a more humane method of slaughter.

Once frozen solid, wash them by placing the worms in boiling water for several minutes. Now one can add them as-is to recipes while somewhat soft, or roast them to make them crunchy. To roast, simply place them in the oven on a tray at 170 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours. Sautéing the mealworms is another option, they are exceptionally delicious when sautéed in olive oil with garlic and salt.

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