Tiny Farms, Tasty Bugs
April 9, 2015 5:26 AM   Subscribe

Crickets have recently been touted as the next big thing in sustainable eating (previously). Indeed, demand for crickets has skyrocketed in the past five years. But where do human-grade crickets come from? Turns out there's a severe lack of supply to meet growing demand. Enter Big Cricket Farms, which is working to innovate new large-scale methods of cricket farming. How can you optimize a food source with minimal infrastructure to build off of? The farm's FAQ attempts to provide some answers.

Fear not! You too can farm your own crickets. The Open Bug Farm Project exists to help homeowners and fledgling businesses produce insects for human consumption as safely and efficiently as possible. If you'd rather wait until more companies get involved in cricket farming and bring supply costs down, Tiny Farms is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping startup companies figure out how to produce crickets and other edible insects on a sustainable level. Recently, it has helped two other farms--Aspire and Next Millenium Farmers--get their start in the industry.
posted by sciatrix (99 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wow very cool post. Ironic that Big Cricket Farms set up in one of the most stereotypically meat and potatoes towns in the US.

Serious question: are crickets the best bugs to use for meal? There doesn't seem to be a lot of nutritional information at that github wiki. Without irony and as a lover of steak and potatoes myself, I for one welcome our new easy, and hopefully eventually cheap protein overlords.
posted by digitalprimate at 5:46 AM on April 9, 2015


Here is a fun article on cricket kosher certification. Who knew that quinoa was kosher for Passover?

Also, let us not forget John the Baptist's diet of , "locusts and honey". My quizbowl team LOST bad on a bonus question on kosher food identification regarding chagavim.
posted by jadepearl at 5:49 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE
posted by Jahaza at 5:59 AM on April 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


The question is, do we want a promising alternative food supply to be monopolized by a company that literally calls itself Big Cricket? Do we?

*crickets chirping*
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:59 AM on April 9, 2015 [29 favorites]


Fried crickets are one of the staple options at taco stands (or on their own as a snack) in central Mexico. They've been eating them there since before Europeans came to North America, and they're as popular as ever, so someone down there must have figured out the large scale farming thing.

I tried them once, in a taco. They were totally fine, not unlike some variety of roasted nut. I would probably eat them regularly if they were available around here and if I could square it with my vegetarianism.
posted by 256 at 6:03 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wonder if cricket protein will come to replace powdered pea meal. Think of the applications in products like Beyond Meat. In all seriousness, I wonder if crickets could be considered vegan. How much difference is there between an insect and something like nutritional yeast? Disclaimer: I didn't RTFA.
posted by slogger at 6:06 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I used to have leopard geckos and a bearded dragon, and I kept crickets to feed them.

Once I made the mistake of buying canned crickets. After experiencing that odor, it'll be a cold day in hell before I eat them myself.
posted by Foosnark at 6:07 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I could never get over the squick factor when presented with crickets to eat (fried, I think. Eaten like crisps. In Thailand.) but cricket meal? Yeah, I'd use that, and I reckon there'd be tons of uses where the consumer doesn't even think about where it's from. Cochineal's fine, right?
posted by pompomtom at 6:09 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, let us not forget John the Baptist's diet of , "locusts and honey"

Fried crickets are one of the staple options at taco stands (or on their own as a snack) in central Mexico.


Isn't there something similar in Things Fall Apart? The locusts show up and everyone is thrilled because they are delicious? It was fascinating because that's such a different perspective than I've ever heard before.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:09 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also: can we make that protein powder that bodybuilders eat (or drink, or whatever...) out of crickets? Isn't that awful anyway?
posted by pompomtom at 6:11 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm a vegetarian and I would eat humanely-raised crickets. They were gonna die in eight weeks anyway, and they don't have a lot of self-awareness. Scallops are even less aware, and I'd eat them if I liked them since they're neurologically pretty much a plant. Then again, most vegans I know won't eat honey because bees are oppressed, so.
posted by blnkfrnk at 6:12 AM on April 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I've had crickets before, here in Mexico. The ones I had were really crunchy and covered in a spicy mix, mostly salt and chili powder, and lightly chopped (so no whole crickets). They are really good in a taco with guacamole.

You can't really focus on them, though, or else you start seeing individual cricket parts, agh!
posted by CrazyLemonade at 6:13 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


What constitutes an inhumanely raised cricket?
posted by phooky at 6:22 AM on April 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


The idea of eating crickets doesn't squick me out in the slightest. Standing in the middle of an industrial scale cricket farm, though? That sounds like nightmare fodder. The sound! Ugh.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:22 AM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


I was so hoping to come back to this post later today and find 0 responses. I'm very disappointed in you people. A fine crowdsourced humor opportunity has been lost.

Just kidding sciatrix. Very fine post!
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:24 AM on April 9, 2015 [17 favorites]


You can eat crickets at the New Orleans Insectarium. They're fine, but I always feel like I have little legs stuck in my throat for the rest of the day. I don't think it's just my imagination.
posted by artychoke at 6:27 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Some of the receptors in the throat are very slow to "reset". Get something stuck, or scratch it a little, and it will feel like it's there for hours after it's gone.
posted by idiopath at 6:30 AM on April 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


Inhumane is how many crickets for the pet market are raised: dirty cage, no space, never see a fresh vegetable, literally no water after they go for sale.
posted by blnkfrnk at 6:33 AM on April 9, 2015


One thing I think is interesting about the food culture around chapulines in Mexico is that they're not even particularly a downmarket food - while you might find them in a street market or a taco stand, you might also come across them as a bar snack in an upscale hipster joint in Roma or Condesa in the DF.

Chapulines are actually grasshoppers, not crickets, though - same order, different family.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 6:33 AM on April 9, 2015


In all seriousness, I wonder if crickets could be considered vegan. How much difference is there between an insect and something like nutritional yeast?

Some vegetarians might consider it, but vegans? No way. As noted above, most vegans won't eat honey because the production of honey involves the incidental death of bees, no matter how hippie-organic the production methods are.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:46 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I only eat free-range crickets.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:46 AM on April 9, 2015


I've eaten Chapulines, as with others in Central Mexico. I found them to be nutty with a slightly off-putting metallic taste, but I wouldn't hesitate to eat them again. I'd imagine crickets would not taste much different, though crickets are a little more soil-based (umami!) in their habits than grasshoppers.

I'm not sure how this is much different conceptually than eating squid or shrimp, but our attitudes about food are driven by culture as much or more than objective "grossness".
posted by mcstayinskool at 6:46 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


The idea of eating crickets doesn't squick me out in the slightest. Standing in the middle of an industrial scale cricket farm, though? That sounds like nightmare fodder. The sound! Ugh.

Just you wait until the neighbours decide they're going to become urban cricket farmers because they want a locally-sourced alternative to Big Cricket.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:51 AM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


I eat anything. Well . . . mostly anything.
But we were talking about crickets recently. There are people who are grinding them up and using them as the protein in energy bars, right?
What the hell?
I'd eat whole crickets if they're prepared correctly. You know how shrimp that are properly fried in the shell are great, but if they are prepared wrong, the shells aren't crisp and brittle but become little flakes of chitin in your mouth? Yeah, I don't think I would like poorly prepared crickets either.
But ground up in an energy bar? Who does that to food?
Nasty.
posted by Seamus at 6:53 AM on April 9, 2015


"What is it you hear, Clarice?"

*crickets*

"Nothing, doctor."

"No, Clarice, I mean the crickets. Can you hear them?"
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:53 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I only eat free-range crickets.

Get yourself a car-wash job. Last time I drove to Adelaide it seemed to take longer to get the bastards out of the radiator grill than the drive took.
posted by pompomtom at 6:53 AM on April 9, 2015


i dislike this post and wish it ill
posted by poffin boffin at 6:55 AM on April 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'm sorry! I said I'd quit evangelizing but apparently I was way too excited. :D
posted by sciatrix at 6:56 AM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


they want a locally-sourced alternative to Big Cricket.

We've already got them here. And they're free! Free protein on the hoof tarsus!




Well -- I guess technically those aren't actually crickets as such . . .
posted by Herodios at 7:03 AM on April 9, 2015


This is the new Alpaca, right? These kind of farming fads come around ever few years and usually turn out to be scams.

This is how possums ended up everywhere in the US: in the 1930's a lot of farmers got convinced that possum fur was going to be the next big thing, and bought and started raising possums. When it turned out there wasn't any market, a lot of them just opened the cages and turned the other way.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:09 AM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


In all seriousness, I wonder if crickets could be considered vegan.

In all seriousness, no. People already happily eating pig parts, cattle parts, bird parts, fish staring up at them from the plate, etc., should have no trouble munching on bugs. But I'll stick to fruits and veggies, thanks.
posted by pracowity at 7:11 AM on April 9, 2015


For anyone interested in some nutrition data for all sorts of bugs, look here.

I would eat bugs, I'm pretty sure. But I'm saying that after eating only a grapefruit for breakfast and I don't have a cricket taco in front of me to consider.
posted by glaucon at 7:12 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Let us not forget the great nutria debacle of 1930 (previously).

Heh heh. "Swamp beaver."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:15 AM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


I do not see insects ever becoming a widespread food for humans. It is however obviously a good match for animal feed, e.g., protein for pigs or chickens. It can be produced cheaply locally, so Big Soy need no longer be necessary.
posted by bouvin at 7:16 AM on April 9, 2015


Letting a big corporation dominate this market would just not be cricket.

(my coat? the brown one, thank you.)
posted by ocschwar at 7:16 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Inhumane is how many crickets for the pet market are raised: dirty cage, no space, never see a fresh vegetable, literally no water after they go for sale.

Crickets live in the dirt under rocks.
posted by dendrochronologizer at 7:22 AM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


One of these days there's going to be a food trend that I want to participate in.
posted by tommasz at 7:24 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Insects are already a widespread food for humans; the question is whether the North American and European humans are going to get in on it.

Personally I have something of a phobia about a lot of insects, and while I might be able to eat them, I probably wouldn't be able to enjoy it.
posted by bracems at 7:29 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've eaten cricket flour protein bars. I won't say they are delicious exactly, but they are exactly as acceptably mediocre as any other protein bar. I'll count that as a win.
posted by pemberkins at 7:30 AM on April 9, 2015


Data point: I am a vegan and I would absolutely eat cricket. A climate-friendly way to produce high protein food? I'm all over that.
posted by nerdfish at 7:35 AM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Call me when they have 'em fermented and stuck together in a patty like Cricket Tempeh.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 7:40 AM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also: can we make that protein powder that bodybuilders eat (or drink, or whatever...) out of crickets? Isn't that awful anyway?

Eh, it depends on the brand and flavor but they usually range from "mostly edible" to "f-ing delicious". I lift for health reasons and went through a stretch where I drank one of those shakes every day. They're a good source of protein (some people don't get enough in their diet) and they're pretty filling so they're a good snack to have 20 minutes or so before a meal to make you less hungry.

However, you can also make a similar shake with cottage cheese, a little honey, and some fresh fruit. You have to blend it REALLY well (I use an immersion blender) to get the texture smooth enough but they taste really good (with strawberries or frozen mango chunks) and you don't have to deal with the artificial sweeteners that are often in powdered protein shakes (they give some people headaches).

Something similar could probably be made with some sort of cricket derived product.
posted by VTX at 7:41 AM on April 9, 2015


I ate a small box of raisins once and thought they were unusually tasty. Then I noticed they were crawling with ants. Formic acid has quite a twang. And no, I didn't finish the box...
posted by jim in austin at 7:41 AM on April 9, 2015


Also: can we make that protein powder that bodybuilders eat (or drink, or whatever...) out of crickets? Isn't that awful anyway?

The problem is that cricket flour is obscenely expensive. Whey protein is like $10 a pound. Cricket flour is like $60 a pound.
posted by smackfu at 7:44 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have no conceptual problem with eating crickets. I've tried them several times. Each time, the problem has been the taste. I've had them Thai style and Japanese style, and at first they taste good, because you're tasting the spices or the sauce they've been cooked in. But then the cricket taste comes, and it's...bad.

Everybody in this thread is praising the crickets in Mexico, so I'd like to try them. I'm guessing the issue is that the type of cricket eaten in Asia is different from the kind eaten in Mexico.
posted by Bugbread at 7:44 AM on April 9, 2015


The problem is that cricket flour is obscenely expensive. Whey protein is like $10 a pound. Cricket flour is like $60 a pound.

This being the problem that places like Big Cricket Farms are trying to solve....
posted by sciatrix at 7:46 AM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


While chitin is indeed a protein (molecularly), I was always under the impression that it was not digestible by humans, and that it mostly just passed right through you . The linked articles don't seem to address that.

I'd be happy to drink a cricket based protein shake if it tasted okay.
posted by sidereal at 7:48 AM on April 9, 2015


Crickets? Seems like you'd get more meat from Teddy Ruxpins.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:49 AM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


WHY WAS SNOWPIERCER SO PRESCIENT THIS YEAR?!?!?!?!? Goddammit, 2015.
posted by maryr at 7:51 AM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


TBH, the cricket-protein bars were probably the least horrific thing in Snowpiercer.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:52 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Can't help feeling that once it's scaled up and industrialised it'll turn out not to be sustainable after all.
posted by Segundus at 7:54 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've had a cricket flour workout bar too. I actually like Powerbars, and the cricket flour version tasted exactly like a Powerbar, even down to the texture. I'd have bought a box if it hadn't been so expensive.
posted by odin53 at 7:54 AM on April 9, 2015


Crickets? Seems like you'd get more meat from Teddy Ruxpins.

Not to mention Grubby. Extra legs, mm-hmm.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:54 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


It is however obviously a good match for animal feed, e.g., protein for pigs or chickens. It can be produced cheaply locally, so Big Soy need no longer be necessary.

It's probably bad that this gives me an idea, isn't it?
posted by maryr at 7:58 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


> NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE

I have a feeling that at some point down the road, not eating insects will no longer be an option.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:05 AM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Segundus: any sort of animal we farm has an input to yield ratio. That ratio is going to be a lot lower for insects, because a smaller ratio of input is spent on inedible body infrastructure, and the turnover time from birth to slaughter is very short.

Of course it won't be as efficient as plants though.
posted by idiopath at 8:13 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have a feeling that at some point down the road, not eating insects will no longer be an option.

So long as there are still other humans it never needs to be an option.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:20 AM on April 9, 2015 [14 favorites]


I think that even if it is stepped up and industrialized (as they're trying to do), it is in some way an improvement over larger livestock. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that a cow uses more water and land than the same mass in crickets.

On the other hand, you kill a cow, have killed one creature. You kill a cow's worth of crickets? That's a lot of crickets. Cumulatively, I bet their lifespan would have added up to be longer than the cow's.
posted by aniola at 8:28 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have a feeling that at some point down the road, not eating insects will no longer be an option.

So long as there are still other humans it never needs to be an option.


Remind me never to piss off poffin boffin.
posted by duffell at 8:31 AM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was on the phone to a Shoshone Piute high school principal, in Oyhee, Nevada. I was going to drive up the 100 miles from Elko, to interview. I asked her if there were road hazards or other considerations for the drive. In that lovely, reminiscent of Chief Dan George, accent, she told me to watch out for the Mormon crickets. That if it rains the roads are greasy and slick, because so many of them are run over after infestations.

Utah and Nevada have these famous swarms, and I realized they could be a significant source of fuel oil. Harvested locusts, could be pressed into fireplace logs, or just rendered for oil, using their body parts for energy means, to run the presses or extractors. Utah spends a fortune suppressing these locusts in the west desert around Toole County.
posted by Oyéah at 8:46 AM on April 9, 2015


This is the new Alpaca, right? These kind of farming fads come around ever few years and usually turn out to be scams

The Pigeon King was the first thing that jumped into my mind.
posted by rodlymight at 8:50 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I do not see insects ever becoming a widespread food for humans.

Depends on your definition of 'widespread'. Human insect-eating is common to cultures in most parts of the world, including North, Central and South America; and Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Over 1,000 species of insects are known to be eaten in 80% of the world's nations. Today insect eating is rare in the developed world, but insects remain a popular food in many developing regions of Latin America, Africa, Asia and Oceania.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:54 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ok, if I did my math right, here are the numbers for lifespan by weight.

Say a cow weighs a thousand pounds and could live up to 25 years. And say a cricket weighs as much as four ounces and lives up to 8 weeks.

So the cow is 16,000 ounces, or 4,000 crickets. 4,000 crickets x 8 weeks is 32,000 weeks of living, compared to a cow's 1300 weeks. That's approximately 25 times more potential lifespan by weight.

Some vegetarians might eat crickets, but it will depend on their reasons for not eating meat.
posted by aniola at 8:59 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't know any vegetarians for whom 'potential lifespan' is the main criteria for whether or not to eat something. Otherwise postmortem cannibalism would be a-ok, not to mention roadkill, etc. But I do know many pescitarians who are willing to eat fish and other seafood because they have less complex nervous systems than birds and mammals, and so don't think and feel to the same extent. Those people would totally eat bugs, theoretically.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:02 AM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Jiminy Cricket: Now, you see, the world is full of temptations.
Pinocchio: Temptations?
Jiminy Cricket: Yep, temptations. They're the wrong things that seem right at the time... but... uh... even though the right things may seem wrong sometimes, or sometimes the wrong things, [chuckles] may be right at the wrong time, or vice-versa.
Jiminy Cricket: [clears throat] Understand?
Pinocchio: [shakes his head] Uh-uh. But I'm gonna do right. [throws Jiminy into frying pan, adds onions, sautées over medium heat for 3 minutes or until golden]
posted by tempestuoso at 9:08 AM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


4 Ounce cricket from hell, breaking windshields all over the west. The biggest grasshoppers I have seen are no more than an ounce, even those big black and orange, tobacco spittin' grasshoppers in the South.

Then imagine the crickets in late autumn singing...louder...louder...louder...closing in, What's that on yer breath?...What's that on yer breath?...What's that on yer breath?
posted by Oyéah at 9:33 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


We thought we could contain the crickets. Now, the crickets have contained us. Nowhere is safe. Their deafening chirping pursues us from the highest mountain peaks to the deepest, darkest caves. We are too few. They are too many. Oh god! They're here! They're coming under the door! They

[end transmission]
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:37 AM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Shellfish (the arthropodous ones, anyway; a.k.a. seabugs) have meat that is easily separated from their exoskeleton and digestive organs. I think not eating shells and poop is a good idea. Unless you can pull a cricket's digestive system out through the back and peel off all the legs in one quick motion, why not just raise shrimp? If all you want is protein and you don't care about taste or texture, why not just raise transgenetic yeast? If you really insist on raising bugs, why not something quieter?
posted by WCWedin at 9:41 AM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


I regularly buy a box of pet-store crickets as self-propelled cat toys.

What I'm saying here is cats—who are notoriously finicky eaters—love eating crickets, so how bad can it be?

Then again, I suppose by this metric we should be chowing down on houseflies and mice.
posted by jamaro at 9:42 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've heard that the main prey eaten by feral city cats is cockroaches. Of course, the experiment must be made of giving them a simultaneous choice - cockroaches, crickets, or commercial cat food. Which cuisine will reign supreme !?
posted by King Sky Prawn at 9:51 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Potential lifespan could be a consideration for anyone who, instead of squishing a bug, would prefer to capture it with a cup and paper and throw it outside.
posted by aniola at 10:08 AM on April 9, 2015


I don't know how to do the math to determine whether a cow has more nervous system relative to its weight in crickets....
posted by aniola at 10:10 AM on April 9, 2015


I was going for a conservative estimate, so I used female Mormon crickets as my cricket weight.
posted by aniola at 10:11 AM on April 9, 2015


If you really insist on raising bugs, why not something quieter?
posted by WCWedin at 12:41 PM


You'll hardly ever hear a peep from a mealworm.
posted by orme at 10:13 AM on April 9, 2015


... oh man, Mormon crickets. This is one of the rare stories you will hear me tell that does not extol the many virtues of riding a recumbent bicycle.

Once I was riding along the Loneliest Road in Nevada, and I biked through DAYS of Mormon crickets. And when I say DAYS of Mormon crickets, I am using it as a literal metric for how many crickets were on the road, en masse. The roads were slick with the crushed dead, and the crickets flocked to their dead to eat them. And then more were crushed. The living ones jumped knee-high, and I was on a recumbent. Brr!

P.S. Apparently Mormon crickets are actually katydids, I should have used a smaller weight and gotten an even larger number of crickets per cow. That's a lot of crickets.
posted by aniola at 10:23 AM on April 9, 2015


jadepearl: "Also, let us not forget John the Baptist's diet of , "locusts and honey"."

I believe the usual understanding is that this is in reference to the locust tree, not the insect.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:33 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


John the Baptist's diet has been the centre of much discussion. For many years it was traditional to interpret locust as referring to not the insect, but rather the seed pods of the carob tree. The two words are very similar, but most scholars today feel this passage is referring to the insects. Locusts are mentioned 22 other times in the Bible and all other mentions are quite clearly referring to the insect.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:41 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's, um, cricket kebabs, cricket creole, cricket gumbo, pan fried, deep fried, stir fried. There's pineapple cricket and lemon cricket, coconut cricket, pepper cricket, cricket soup, cricket stew, cricket salad, cricket and potatoes, cricket burger, cricket sandwich... That's, that's about it.

Worst thing about cricket ranching is finding a small enough horse.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:45 AM on April 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


While chitin is indeed a protein (molecularly)

I didn't think this was right so I had to check wikipedia to be sure:
Chitin is a modified polysaccharide that contains nitrogen; it is synthesized from units of N-acetylglucosamine (to be precise, 2-(acetylamino)-2-deoxy-D-glucose). These units form covalent β-1,4 linkages (similar to the linkages between glucose units forming cellulose). Therefore, chitin may be described as cellulose with one hydroxyl group on each monomer replaced with an acetyl amine group.
posted by DarkForest at 12:13 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


These stats from the Big Cricket Farm FAQ linked are worth noting:
Nutritionally, crickets have half the fat and a third more protein than beef. Environmentally, crickets need only about two pounds of feed per pound of usable meat; for beef, it takes 25 pounds of feed for the same pound of meat. Likewise, it only takes about a gallon of water to raise one pound of crickets, compared to 2,000 gallons of water for a pound of cow.
posted by idiopath at 1:00 PM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'll eat almost anything, but the one time I tried cricket, I got a leg trapped between my teeth and the little hairs on the leg stuck it in place and ...

Shudder.

I'll eat ground-up cricket before I eat crunchy cricket parts again.

(But yeah, soon it might not be optional. Bow before Big Cricket, because cannibalism can only get you so far.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:51 PM on April 9, 2015


Also: can we make that protein powder that bodybuilders eat (or drink, or whatever...) out of crickets? Isn't that awful anyway?

After a heavy session of bench pressing and cable curls, there's nothing I like better than sittin' down and eatin' multiple fistfuls of locust dust durin' my protein window.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:22 PM on April 9, 2015


showbiz_liz: "I don't know any vegetarians for whom 'potential lifespan' is the main criteria for whether or not to eat something. Otherwise postmortem cannibalism would be a-ok, not to mention roadkill, etc."

When I was a vegetarian, although I never ate roadkill or dead people, those were precisely the two categories of meat eating I was a-ok with. My problem was with killing, not with meat itself. I think that's true for a whole lot of vegetarians.
posted by Bugbread at 3:49 PM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


I have a weird psychological thing where I will eat any sort of shrimp, crab, lobster, crawfish, etc. but bugs just gross me out.
posted by Fleebnork at 4:43 PM on April 9, 2015


I suppose we should also ask how many lives could be saved by the potential environmental preservation of not using those 1999 gallons of water, if that saved water even managed to go where it was most needed.

It would be kind of neat if the cricket farms had some way of ensuring the water they didn't use actually went where it would be environmentally useful. Otherwise it may end up serving Big Ag anyway.
posted by aniola at 4:45 PM on April 9, 2015


As long as we aren't eating cicadas! I'll fight anyone who wants to eat those sweetly humming adorably viscous little fuckers.
posted by triage_lazarus at 5:20 PM on April 9, 2015


triage_lazarus: "I'll fight anyone who wants to eat those sweetly humming adorably viscous little fuckers."

I wouldn't describe this as "sweetly humming". Don't get me wrong, I like cicadas, and I like the sound they make, but if I had to describe it I'd go with "shrilly buzzing".
posted by Bugbread at 5:27 PM on April 9, 2015


viscous little fuckers

oh god why are they gooey

furthermore why do you know this
posted by poffin boffin at 5:38 PM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


What I'm saying here is cats—who are notoriously finicky eaters—love eating crickets, so how bad can it be?

We have an enormous number of crickets around my house. One gets in almost every day (I'm still not quite sure how, TBH).

My cat indeed loves crickets --- as toys. He tortures them until a few legs come off, then gets bored and wanders away. I find dead or still-living-but-oh-god-please-kill-me crickets in various states of disassembly fairly often. Occasionally my wife manages to find them first, and puts a container over them (she is not comfortable picking up / moving the crickets themselves, so they wait in their protective custody until I get home). My cat will sit outside the cricket-shelter, just... waiting.

Its too bad there is no way to warn the crickets that my house is occupied by a sadistic killing machine, as whatever they hope to find in there I doubt it involves being slowly dismembered by an overweight cat.
posted by thefoxgod at 5:44 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have a weird psychological thing where I will eat any sort of shrimp, crab, lobster, crawfish, etc. but bugs just gross me out.

I am the reverse. I'll happily eat bugs (as long as they are fried and flavored with chile and lime) but I find crabs et al to be super gross in that carapace kind of way.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:05 PM on April 9, 2015


Never had crickets, but I eat bondaeggi, silkwork grubs stewed in soy, all the time here in Korea. Tasty snacking to accompany beer.

I find crabs et al to be super gross in that carapace kind of way.

I also get squicked out by crabs a bit; raw, marinated mud crab (popular here) is one of the few Korean foods I'm not keen on.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:20 PM on April 9, 2015


If you want a picture of the future, imagine stuffing a handful of live crickets into the mouth hole on a human face ... FOREVER.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:55 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, if you don't like Big Cricket, you're really gonna hate Big CannibalTM.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:18 PM on April 9, 2015


I am more than happy to announce that I am doing my bit in not furthering the shortage of edible crickets to those who would eat them by declaring that I will never, ever eat any.

They are on my list of things I will never eat along with ducks and dolphins. Seriously mankind, you don't have to eat everything!
posted by h00py at 3:35 AM on April 10, 2015


Oh, and speaking of crickets, RIP Richie Benaud.
posted by h00py at 7:25 AM on April 10, 2015


Also, if you don't like Big Cricket, you're really gonna hate Big CannibalTM.

Japan is way ahead of you.

PS: Everyone you love will die horribly.
posted by maryr at 8:34 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


In my house the rule is they can eat anything they can catch with 6 legs, but if it has 8 legs they must smash it to death. Actual conversations with toddlers: "WHAT DID YOU JUST EAT?? Oh, a cricket. That's fine."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:37 PM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


In regards to earlier comment of locusts, insect, vs. locust, plant. Dude, have you seen how trim John the Baptist is in films? That guy is doing Paleo and his protein has got to be the insects, otherwise, he is totally carbing out. Of course, I always find it interesting when the Gospels references people's appearance. This draws me to a thought, if Jack Sprat ate no fat while his wife would eat no lean, should not the BOTH of them been thin? Every image I have seen is wife is plump while Jack be thin; one on Atkins one, one Low Fat.
posted by jadepearl at 8:37 AM on April 11, 2015


Me and my traveling buddies started eating bugs in Chiang Mai largely on a lark: drunk, thought it would be a good story, the usual hijinx, etc. The crickets were far an away our favorite, and became a staple of the rest of our trip, actively sought out, brought on day trips in little baggies, the works.

Crickets are delicious: crunchy, savory, umami snacks.
posted by Freen at 9:49 AM on April 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


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