Meet Skye Blackburn. She’s on world-famous Noma Chef René Redzepi’s speed dial, whenever he visits our shores. Why? Because Skye is Australia’s leading producer of edible insects. (Quite the guru, in fact).
And the world’s top chefs understand that bugs aren’t just a hot food trend – they’re the answer to several global problems: our unsustainable food system and widespread malnutrition (manifesting as our current health crisis).
Skye is a food scientist and passionate entomologist whom I interviewed for our What To Eat program. We sampled her macaroons, cake and burgers that were enriched with powdered edible insects. (Rest assured squeamish folk, there’s no discernable difference between these and regular baked goodies.)
Now, I’d tried the hard stuff before. Roasted crickets, ants – and yes, even cockroaches. (Although granted, the roaches were in supplemental form. Would you believe they’re quite popular in traditional Chinese medicine?) However, I was seduced by the delicious flavour of Skye’s dehydrated ants. They tasted exactly like lemon pepper and she uses them as a nutrient-dense seasoning.
In the end, I couldn’t decide if I was more excited about this new discovery or the fascinating interview that unfolded.
Highlights from our interview:
- Insects are extremely rich in a full spectrum of readily bioavailable micronutrients. In terms of nutrient density, they’re literally on par with powdered supplements.
- They can save the world, in more ways than one. It can take up to 4000L of water to produce 200g of beef and only 1ml for that amount of crickets (which have around twice the amount of protein). And meal worms can literally digest plastic, converting it into biodegradable waste.
- They’re DELICIOUS (truly) and despite what you’re thinking, edible insects are easy to incorporate, because you can buy them in powdered form. A sustainable, food-based supplement, of sorts.
- The best part is that you (or your kids) can farm your own supply! No green thumb or outdoor space required and much less effort than a garden.
Edible insects: your guide to reaping the benefits
In week 6 of the What To Eat program we talk about everything you need to get started with this medicinal wonder food: how to purchase, store, cook, consume and even grow them. There’s recipe videos, tips and great advice from Skye around overcoming intellectual resistance!
And if you’re struggling on that front, keep the faith. Realise that it’s simply our cultural programming, which is easy to undo. 80% of the world’s population already consume edible insects. It’s time for us to join the party.