For our Insects & Wine launch party, we wanted to have some fresh insects. That’s not so easy in the UK in March but fortunately it’s not impossible.
Since it’s pretty hard to find any wild edible insects at this time of year, we bought some live crickets from Northampton Reptile Centre!
(Important note/disclaimer: These crickets are farmed as animal feed, not human food. This means they are subject to different health and safety regulations. We’re not advocating anything here – just documenting what we did, because people asked us.)
We checked with the company where they farm their crickets, what species they use, and what they feed them on. The answers? They farm them in Essex, they’re Gryllus assimilis* and they feed them on vegetable scraps**.
To kill the crickets, we use a two-step process in the hope of minimising suffering, inspired by Kevin Bachuber, who used a very similar method when he started Big Cricket Farms in Ohio. Then, we cook them. Here’s the process and recipe**.
How we cooked our crickets:
- Live crickets, ideally from a local farm and fed on a diet you think sounds tasty enough.. (the food they eat can really affect their flavour)
- Oil, ideally a good quality one – Walnut oil works well
- Salt, if you like salt
- Put the crickets (still in their box/container) in a cold fridge for a few hours, so that their body temperature drops low enough that they go into a state resembling hibernation.
- Transfer the crickets to a freezer overnight, which is so cold that they die.
- Take them out of the freezer and wash them thoroughly.
- Blanch them in boiling water for a couple of minutes.
- Drain the crickets and heat some oil in a frying pan.
- Saute the crickets in the oil for 5-8 minutes. (If you like, add a pinch of salt after about 3 minutes.)
- Serve hot! These work well as a snack, or as a salad topping, or as a pizza topping, or as a taco filling, or in fried rice, or in sushi rolls, or…anything you’d like to give a bit of a savoury hit!
*This species is originally from Jamaica
**Important note, again: These crickets are farmed for reptile feed, not human food. We’re just documenting what we did – not advocating it nor taking any responsibility for others trying it out.