chirp chirp…to your health?

Have you ever listened to the sound of crickets chirping at night, and thought, “Those little guys would taste great in my next banana bread!”? Well, neither had I…until recently.

There is a buzz growing in the insect community, and this time it isn’t bees. At gatheredtable, we help our users by recommending healthy, seasonal recipes that meet their household’s goals and preferences. Sometimes, this means digging deep into the newest health trends to discover their worth…and this time, it was crickets.

“Insects are probably the most sustainable form of protein we have on Earth. The only real barrier to Americans eating insects is a cultural taboo,” says Megan Miller, founder of Bitty Foods, which sells pulverized cricket flour to Americans.

Cricket flour is kind of a micro-trend… these health facts might explain why:

  • 2013 report from the United National Food and Agricultural Organization (NATO) confirmed that insects like crickets are nutritional powerhouses, high in protein, fat and essential amino lysine and tryptophan
  • Crickets contain 12.9 grams of protein per 100 grams (half the protein of chicken/beef, but more than dried meats!)
  • Insects require less land use and emit fewer greenhouse gasses then traditional livestock -> what better way to get your protein and be green

I enlisted the help of Victoria, our culinary manager, to “cricketify” two common recipes: banana bread and chocolate chip cookies.

  • 50% of my colleagues affirmed Megan’s hypothesis that the biggest barrier to cricket flour dispersion is cultural taboos – they refused to even taste it
  • The chocolate chip cookies looked funny – formed as dough balls they refused to melt and spread into circles, as traditional cookies do, remaining stubbornly in their pre-baked spheres. Half of our team tried them and declared them: “tolerable”, “a little sandy”, and mostly “saved by the chocolate chips”. (…and you probably shouldn’t eat 5 – one of us did, and a major stomach ache ensued. enough said)
  • The Banana Walnut Bread looked “normal,” tasted “not bad” and overall was denser and yielded a much higher satiety then its’ traditional cousin given the high protein content – we’re planning to make this one again.

For now, although crickets are plentiful, the flour is pricey (a 20oz bag of Bitty will set you back $20, more than 4x the price of traditional flour) so we’re not sure how soon this trend will take off, but we love what the folks at Bitty are trying to do, which is to find new and better solutions to big problems.

What do you think about cricket flour? Heard of it? Tried it? Got any good cricket flour recipes for us? Know any other new ingredients we should try? Leave us a comment below and we’ll be giving out a full bag of Bitty cricket flour to one lucky respondent!

Happy Cooking,

Aileen

gatheredtable - blog-cricket banana bread

gatheredtable - blog-cricket cookies-2

 

2 Responses

  1. I heard about bug based food products on NPR a few weeks back. Every time I travel overseas and see the bug snack stands on the streets, I look but never try. I’d definitely try Bitty though. Packaging and presentation is a huge factor getting over the yuck factor. “High protein cricket flour”… Sure, I’ll try. Glistening whole crickets on a kabob stick street side… Eh, I’ll try something else.

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