Eat Your Pests

Grubs anyone?

Responding to our anti-squirrel post a few days ago Root Simple reader Chile pointed to a post on the her blog “Pests . . . and how to eat them“. She makes the excellent point that most of our dreaded garden pests, including insects are edible.

Now if I could only overcome my squeamishness about eating insects. I had to deal with lots of wax moth larvae this week and remembered that in parts of Asia they are stir fried. Here in L.A., you can get deep fried grasshoppers at a few Mexican restaurants (San Francisco’s Health Department just banned this practice, for some reason). Perhaps you have to grow up eating insects to be fully comfortable with the bug eatin’.

If you look at the entry on rabbits in the original edition of Rodale’s Organic Gardening Encyclopedia, J.I. Rodale suggests eating them. This advice has been, unfortunately, edited out of the revised version. The way the economy is going this summer we may have to revise that encyclopedia again . . .

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13 Comments

  1. There’s a great piece in the New Yorker this week about eating bugs! Or “entomophagy.” A cheap, humane & sustainable protein source, apparently, if marketers can overcome the ick factor.

  2. Oh my! Don’t know if I could bring myself to eat a bug. I know I unknowingly eat thousands a year…or at least that is what they tell me, but I don’t think I could munch on a praying mantis for extra protein!

  3. I too posted a gripe about squirrels and one of my readers said make squirrel pie. I thought they were joking but then I realized they weren’t. I’m too squeamish to eat bugs.

  4. One of the many many interesting facts in that New Yorker article is that in West Africa where grasshoppers formed an important childhood source of protein and iron, mothers now discourage their children from catching grasshoppers because so much pesticide has been applied to the crops under programs sponsored by USAID and others. I suppose USAID will also run nutrition programs when kids start getting Kwashiorkor.

    I had fried crickets in Vietnam in June and they were pretty darned tasty with a cold beer on a hot humid evening. There’s a photo if you click my name-link. (I also had silkworm pupae in Korea on the same trip and they were… not tasty.)

  5. Ah, thanks for the shout-out! We’ve been squeamish too about trying to trap our annoying and damaging pocket gophers to feed to our dogs. To be honest, I think it would take TEOTWAWKI to push us to actually do that. And I’m not really sure how one would catch the grasshoppers in quantity.

  6. Children came home from their annual Summer with Dad carting these huge lolly pops with an embedded bug – treat came from a museum. Per the label according to Dad it was in fact a real bug in each. Our children never did get to the crunchy center as after one to may times of opening the freezer door and viewing them they were tossed.
    As to eating wildlife Erik, I can tell you that it does happen on the sly. One can only look out their kitchen window and watch a deer amble on by without thinking about that empty freezer in the basement so many times. Urban deer hunting isn’t an urban legend.

  7. I just read in Us Weekly that Angelina Jolie’s 2 oldest boys’ favorite food is crickets. Let’s see if this makes them the newest cool and trendy snack for fall.

  8. I love feeding the tomato horn worms to my chickens. A couple summers ago I managed to pry 25 of the little suckers off my costoluto genovese plants, and when I tossed them into the chicken run the girls went wild. They’ll eat anything wiggly.

    Where I used to live, there was a grasshopper problem in my postage stamp-sized yard, until I started letting Lucy out in the late afternoons. I never knew cats would eat these, but she’d eat enough of them that she’d come back inside with grasshopper breath. She contents herself with moths now.

    We don’t have a squirrel problem thanks to all the ferals in the neighborhood, nor gophers or rats or mice. If we had rabbits I’d be dispatching them to feed to the cats.

  9. I’ve been raising meat rabbits for several years now, and in fact “came out” in an article in my local paper. It raised quite a ruckus, but you know? Rabbit is TASTY – and it’s local and sustainable. It also has the highest amount of protein per calorie of any domestic meat, and is low in cholesterol – often recommended for cardiac patients. If you wanna see the article, here it be: http://www.gazettenet.com/2011/06/11/in-pursuit-of-independence

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