edible insects

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If I could, I would replace all my grass with thyme.

I have seven different cultivars growing now, with outstanding features like lemon and pineapple flavours, variegated or brightly-coloured foliage, and creeping or bushy habits. I can really never have enough thyme.

Thymes (Thymus spp.) are in the mint (Lamiaceae) family. They’re beautiful, small-leafed plants that attract all sorts of pollinators with countless small blossoms.

I take chunks off of the thyme plants I have growing in the herb spiral to start areas of groundcover elswhere in the garden. They form patches easily from a small rooted stem.

I plant strawberries in a bed of thyme to repel pests, which allows the fruit to lay on soft, hygienic leaves, instead of soil.

My plants that need a little winter protection over the root ball are often planted under a bed of thyme, allowing them to be insulated during the colder months: tarragon, for example, springs up reliably every year from underneath a patch of golden thyme.

Under foot and between paving stones, thyme holds weeds at bay, and releases a sweet scent into the air when stepped on.

In essence, it’s a perfect permaculture plant, because it fulfills numerous functions: it’s edible, aesthetically-pleasing, labour-reducing, and insectary.

4

Cirsium arvense, Asteraceae

A very common sight for anyone living in cool, temperate areas of the northern hemisphere, creeping thistle, generally known as Canada thistle in North America, is ubiquitously considered a noxious weed with the potential to become quickly invasive, spreading rapidly through lateral rhizomes. Similarly to C. vulgaris, the common thistle much celebrated here in Scotland, its roots, stems and leaves are edible, but rather bland and not really worth taking the time to remove all the spines. 

However, the plant is of great value to wildlife, as its leaves, nectar and seeds, often available in large quantities due to its tendency to form impressive clonal colonies, are fundamental for the sustenance of a variety of creatures. I couldn’t take good photos of all of them, but in the ten minutes I spent observing two different colonies I spotted six different species between bees and bumblebees and dozens of couples of common red soldier beetle (Rhagonycha fulva) which love to mate on thistles. 

Entomophagy - You Skinny Bitch

Edible insects, or “Entomophagism”, are being endorsed by the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organisation as the new black crunchy thing to hit the global market. Two billion people already eat insects, so what’s another five billion who are already trying to kill them, anyway? “Only a few hundred billion crickets”, says Dr. Francis D'Emilio sleepily, once a level 5 vegan, refusing to eat anything that cast a shadow. “Good for you, good for world”, he continued to say, before having to sit down.

Environmental scientists who have studied the global value of eating insects have found entomophagy to not only be an eco-friendly, nutritionally adequate, and sustainable food source for both human and animal, but to also be the next best miracle weight loss cure.

“I’ve been eating insects all along”, says Victoria Beckham, former Posh Spice of the Spice Girls. “It’s such a relief to be able to come out of the closet, and to finally be appreciated as a humanitarian.” When suggested that some people still genuinely couldn’t stomach the idea of eating bugs, Beckham went on to ask “What’s the problem?”

Westerners who once were disgusted by the thought of having to utilise wasps, beetles, and crickets as condiments to their Flies and Cicada’s by the beachside, are suddenly jumping on the band wagon. “We served flies before they were cool”, owner of popular Surry Hills based ‘Ento’ cafe boasts before adding “only certified organic, though.”

After Instagramming their courtyard of free range red ants, corn-fed mealworms, and, owner’s favourite, beetle larvae (soon to be served as a 'Sustainable Smoky Mustard Glazed Larvae Salad’), we couldn’t help but sit down and give some of their dishes a try. “This isn’t a fad”, owner mumbled over a spoon full of triple pulled crataegus laevigata. “We’ve gone the next step and have started serving raw insects, for our seriously passionate raw food customers.”

Dr. D'Emilio suggested that the rest of us still bugged by this idea should stop swatting the income in our own homes, before passing out seconds later.

Reported by Tania Safi

Dawning in Dust: Prologue

The world had ended.

“Well, if not ended,” Claire supposed, looking upon the deadened landscape with a dispassionate gaze, “it came as close as it could reasonably get.”

Sweat trickled down her neck, tickling its way beneath her shirt collar and down her spine. The feel of it felt like a touch long lost, and she shifted her shoulders to rid herself of it. Her husband gone, the gold wedding band on her hand all that remained to tell of his existence in her life. With a small huff, Claire stood and gathered her pack of belongings, shielding her eyes from the unyielding sun with a hand.

“Now you’re talking to yourself. Lovely, Beauchamp,” she muttered, turning her eyes this way and that to try and catch her bearings amongst the rolling hills of what was once known as Scotland. Thoughts of the once lush landscapes made her heart squeeze, and not just for the loss of the beauty it had held. Three days hiking in the hills on foot was tiring and hungry work and, as a rule, she preferred edible greenery over insects any day of the week.

What day is it? Claire wondered suddenly. Did anyone still keep track? She didn’t think to ask at the small cabin she’d encountered recently. The man of the house had been wary at first, but allowed her to examine his wife and two daughters who had catarrh. After exchanging medicinals and medical advice for food and shelter, she’d curled up by the hearth and slept in rare warmth all night.

They may have let her stay longer, but Claire was up and away before the little family woke next morning. She smiled to herself, kicking a small rock and watching it tumble down the hill. Leave it to the Scots to still take strangers in, even at the end of the world. She still liked to think of the countries as they had been before The End, many years before.

Before the greatest and last World War destroyed whole countries and killed millions. Before technology died, the ozone layer likely permanently depleted, and modern civilization ceased to exist. It was like a small grain of comfort to her. As if mapping the land in her mind brought a sense of fleeting stability to her nomadic and desperate life. Claire smirked at the thought, shrugging her pack on and taking the first step down the hillside.

If there was one thing anyone could ever say about Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall, it would be that her life was never “normal”.

anonymous asked:

hi there, i'm writing a post apoc story, and i need to know if insects like grubs that you can consume survive without much water? it's incredibly sunny and they only get rain like once a month. also what crops could survive that harsh weather?

Werew:  I AM SO GLAD YOU ASKED, ANON! Entomophagy (the eating of insects and other creepy crawlies) is a totally cool thing that has lots of potential in post-apocalyptic fiction and almost never gets used. 

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/34172/title/Why-Insects-Should-Be-in-Your-Diet/ Here is a cool article that breaks down a lot of really awesome things about entomophagy, and even has some stats about how insects compare to beef and milk in terms of nutrition, as well as some basic information about how much food insects use compared to cattle.

A really quick summary of why eating insects might be better for your story than livestock: 

-Insects use less food to produce similar amounts of edible food. 

-Insects use significantly less water. This is partially because they use the water in their food, and partially because exoskeletons are good at retaining moisture. 

-Insects can often eat food that humans and regular livestock cannot. Grubs, for instance, often eat decaying wood or snack on plant roots. Soldier fly larvae LOVE living in a compost bin.

-Crickets (and probably others too) can be ground into flour that can be put in baked goods or substituted for flour in a lot of other ways, thus allowing people to eat insect protein even if they can’t quite stomach the idea of crunching on whole insects.

-Insects can be kept in a much smaller area than livestock. A whole cricket farm in a single room, for instance. (I’m talking about space needed per pound of food produced, again)

Googling “entomophagy” will get you a LOT of great information. Recipes, species recommended for eating (you can eat almost any insect that isn’t poisonous, but some are a lot more palatable than others for various reasons), places you can order insect-based food products, etc.

I personally have not eaten all that many insects, but I thoroughly enjoyed some cookies made with cricket flour. It can’t be used as a direct substitution, because it doesn’t have gluten and doesn’t rise, so it’s recommended to only replace 1/3 or less of the flour with cricket flour in any given recipe, and include a different rising agent (especially if using a higher ratio of cricket flour!). Cricket flour cookies kinda taste like…. protein, the way a protein bar differs from a regular granola bar? I found them delicious.

I have also eaten a salted, roasted ant queen. It was crunchy, and the taste was not really remarkable.

If any of your characters have a shellfish allergy, they should not consume insects (or if they unknowingly do, should have an allergic reaction). The things that most people are allergic to in shellfish are also in insects; they’re both arthropods, and are quite closely related!

with-hunger-in-her-heart  asked:

hey saw you were into insect protein, so I thought I'd share a true story: my drama prof was sacked and started up his own mealworm farm and insect protein business (Cornish Edible Insects)

AMAZING. I love their recipe board- those mealworm flapjacks look particularly delicious. This is also really great because it’s a European source, so for anybody who wants cricket flour and lives across the pond and doesn’t want to pay to get it shipped from the US or Canada? Why not get delicious Cornish insects? 

Lovely Grub: Are Insects The Future Of Food?

by Emily Anthes, Mosaic Science

At first my meal seems familiar, like countless other dishes I’ve eaten at Asian restaurants. A swirl of noodles slicked with oil and studded with shredded chicken, the aroma of ginger and garlic, a few wilting chives placed on the plate as a final flourish. And then, I notice the eyes. Dark, compound orbs on a yellow speckled head, joined to a winged, segmented body. I hadn’t spotted them right away, but suddenly I see them everywhere – my noodles are teeming with insects.

I can’t say I wasn’t warned. On this warm May afternoon, I’ve agreed to be a guinea pig at an experimental insect tasting in Wageningen, a university town in the central Netherlands. My hosts are Ben Reade and Josh Evans from the Nordic Food Lab, a non-profit culinary research institute. Reade and Evans lead the lab’s ‘insect deliciousness’ project, a three-year effort to turn insects – the creepy-crawlies that most of us squash without a second thought – into tasty, craveable treats.

Keep reading

Even Neil DeGrasse Tyson Is Now Munching On Bugs

The American Museum of Natural History hosted the annual Explorers Club dinner on Saturday night, and the guest of honor was none other than Neil deGrasse Tyson.  The delicacies at the event were made of insects, and ever the explorer, Tyson tried a few.

“‘I have come to surmise, in the culinary universe, that anytime someone feels compelled to wrap something in bacon, it probably doesn’t taste very good,’ he said.

Tyson, a modern-day science hero, says the logical appeal behind eating bugs, a growing trend in the West, is perfectly clear: ‘Insects have been long known as a great source of protein, so I don’t have a problem with that.’”

Read more via npr.