Bamboo worms are often found fried in Thailand. These are actually a particularly safe-tasting option if you want to give eating insects a try and you don’t have to deal with the appendages that many other species of bugs have. Even the taste of bamboo worms is relatively safe, and they tend to taste mild and bland. Despite being a safe option, bamboo worms do still offer the advantages that many other edible insects have in that they are a good source of nutrients.
Lemon ants are an example of a species that really do live up to their name, because they have the tangy taste of lemon. Lemon ants are unusual in that people often end up eating them directly from nature (live!), rather than cooking them. The ants are also very tiny, so it would take quite some effort to catch enough to make cooking them worthwhile.
Snails are probably the single-most well-known edible insect, even though most Western people find the idea pretty appalling. Even when snails are served in the United States, the key idea seems to be to hide the natural flavor of the snails, rather than enhance it. Eating snails (or escargot) has a long history in France and there are many people who find them particularly appealing. Some of this appeal comes from their taste and their high protein nature, although the reputation of the meal also makes it appealing.
Rollie Pollie AKA Pill Bug
Pill bugs have a lot of different names and they are sometimes referred to as land shrimp because of how closely they are related to lobster and shrimp. Some people find that the bugs also taste similar to shrimp. While they can be eaten raw, they also work well in cooked dishes, especially as an ingredient in a soup or in a sauce. Pill bugs have the additional benefit of having a high calcium carbonate content in their shell, which gives them the potential to help with upset stomachs.
Like their snail cousins, slugs are edible and they are probably also quite nutritious. They can be an appealing approach to food simply because they are so common in some parts of the year. Slugs should always be cooked before eating to prevent any health issues. Some types of slugs are also better options than others, with dusky arions and leopard slugs being two popular varieties.
Aphids are another interesting choice for edible insects. Even though they are relatively small, you tend to find lots of aphids at a time on infested plants. The taste of these insects can vary considerably depending on what they have been feeding on. So, you may find some aphids taste a little bitter, while others are on the sweet side.
Earwigs are both edible and tasty, although people are often grossed out by the idea of eating them. Catching earwigs is relatively simple, and this can be done using the same tricks that gardeners use to get earwigs out of their garden. One such example is filling a low sided container with vegetable oil or stale beer, both of which will attract earwigs.
There are many different species of beetle out there and a great number of these are edible. However, if you are going to eat beetles (or any species of insect for that matter), it’s important to take the time to identify the species you are wanting to eat and figure out whether there are any concerns about eating it. Often a few individual species may excrete concerning chemicals, even though many similar species are perfectly safe to eat.
Sometimes these are also known as honeypot, and the reason for both names comes from the honey-like substance that these insects carry in their abdomens (which is the translucent globe in the image). The insects use this to feed other ants, but it also makes them a particularly interesting option for edible insects. As you might imagine, the ants have a sweet taste and are sometimes considered a dessert.
Silkworms are used extensively for silk harvesting and the edible silkworms are a byproduct of that process, which makes them a particularly environmental choice. They are also particularly common in Korea and you can even find canned versions at some Asian markets. Silkworms have an unusual smell, which puts the uninitiated off and their taste tends to be described as ‘tolerable’ rather than actually appealing. Despite this, they are a good source of protein and the silkworms are already farmed so it seems a waste not to eat them.
Whatever this is looks pretty edible….