Crickets are a high protein food that can supply important nutrients to reptiles, fish, mammals, and even people. Entomophagy is eating insects for food. Throughout much of the world it is common and an important part of a healthy diet. Crickets and other insects can be eaten alive, but they are often cooked to create a tastier meal.
Before cooking crickets there are a few things that need to be done. You should take the insects and place them in a refrigerator until they are immobilized. The cold air slows a cricket’s metabolism and prevents your food from hopping away.
Once cooled, pick out any damaged crickets and then rinse the rest in cool water to remove any unwanted substrate. Pat them dry with a paper towel and they are now ready to be cooked.
Spread the crickets evenly on a non-stick cookie sheet. If you are worried that they may stick, you can lightly grease the sheet or use a liner. Place the insects in an oven at 200 degrees and bake them for one to two hours until they are dry and crispy but not burnt. Alternatively, if you do not like the smell of baking crickets, they can be cooked outside on a grill set to low.
Pan frying crickets is quick and easy. Heat some vegetable oil, olive oil, butter or margarine in a pan. Place the insects in the hot liquid and fry them until they are brown and crispy. Drain the crickets, season to taste, and enjoy.
Instead of simply pan frying you could create a saute. Add onions, peppers, mushrooms or any vegetables you like while cooking the insects. When done, season the saute with salt and pepper. You can serve it alone or on a bed of rice or noodles.
Crickets can also be deep fried. Heat the oil to 350 degrees. Prepare your favorite batter, dip each cricket in the batter, and fry them until golden brown.
Boiled & Dried
Boiling and then drying insects requires a dehydrator. First, boil water with some salt added. Alternatively, you can use beef, chicken, or vegetable stock for added flavor. Place the crickets into the boiling liquid for about two minutes.
Drain the crickets and place them in a container in your refrigerator to cool. Once cooled, spread the crickets onto a sheet in your dehydrator and allow them to become completely dry but not overly crunchy.
Cooked crickets can be eaten plain, sprinkled on salads, and used in soups and stews. Dry roasted crickets have a nutty flavor and can replace nuts when baking cookies and cakes. They can also be ground and mixed with flour as an added source of protein. Their uses when cooking is almost limitless.
Crickets can also be turned into sweet or spicy treats. They can be dipped in chocolate, candied, covered with cinnamon & sugar, or salted. You can sprinkle barbeque, cheese, salt & vinegar, and other flavored seasonings onto them just like you would with popcorn or potato chips.
Interested in cooking with insects? Check out these cookbooks.
Live Cricket Nutritional Values*
Dried Cricket Nutritional Values*