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How Cricket Farming Works


What's It Like to Eat Crickets?
Guacamole with crickets is on the menu here, although some say they're best when served sautéed with butter, salt and onions. Peter Marovich/MCT via Getty Images
Guacamole with crickets is on the menu here, although some say they're best when served sautéed with butter, salt and onions. Peter Marovich/MCT via Getty Images

In his TEDx talk, Bachhuber says he thinks crickets taste like a mix of cashews and sweet corn, and some people say they're pistachio-like. But a handful of insect adventurers have gone out of their way to take the flavor options up a notch.

"The first time I ate crickets, I had ordered them live from a pet food company," says Daniella Martin, author and host of the insect cooking and travel show, "Girl Meets Bug". "Luckily, these days you can order them from companies who raise them specifically for human consumption, but that wasn't the case several years ago."

Martin is passionate about educating entomophagy newbies on the benefits of bug eating. Her fascination with insect cuisine took root after an anthropological fieldwork trip in Yucatan, Mexico, where she learned about the Mayan inclusion of insects as dietary supplements. To date, she's tried everything from bees and grasshoppers to scorpions and stink bugs. Her first taste of crickets was particularly pleasant. "I sautéed them with butter, salt and onions — my go-to as I'm not all that accomplished a cook," she says. "I was surprised at how mild they were; kind of like nutty shrimp, with the shells and legs left on. I've served them this way to hundreds of people since, all of whom are similarly pleasantly surprised."

While Martin's original recipe has won rave reviews, she's experimented with her cricket creations over the years and says the insect's versatility makes it a great candidate for more adventurous culinary endeavors. "They're good sautéed like shrimp, crisped in the oven, fried or ground up into powder," she says. "I tend to encourage people to try roasting them in the oven. Drizzle them with a little oil and toss them with garlic salt and/or any other spices you like, then spread them on a baking sheet. Bake them at 250 degrees (121 Celsius) for about 15 minutes, watching them closely so they don't burn; they are pretty small, after all. Once crispy, take them out and let them cool. Sprinkle them on salsa, over a salad or simply eat them plain."

Martin actually purchased her first order from a pet food company and has since moved on to more human-focused enterprises. She says anyone can take on the role of part-time farmer. "People can absolutely raise their own crickets," she says. "There are kits you can buy, or you can start with basically just a plastic bin and some egg cartons. Crickets don't require too much work, but they do require attention at certain times of their life/breeding cycle, and there can be occasional troubleshooting. It can be a learning process, just like raising any livestock."