in.gredients

A Complete(ly) Sustainable Protein?

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We’re all about new ideas.

We’re also into revitalizing old ideas that have gone by the wayside. Eliminating unnecessary food packaging and focusing on locally and sustainably grown foods are good examples of old ideas made new again, and so is this: eating insects.  Entomophagy, as it’s formally known, is a practice dating back thousands of years.  Today, however, Western cultures hardly know the first thing about eating bugs, even though many other culinary traditions (Mexico, Thailand, and China, to name a few) still consume insects with regularity.  As far as we’re concerned, insects are overdue for a resurgence in the West, and we’re not the only ones who think so.

Cricket!Since 2010 when the idea of in.gredients was born, entomophagy has been on our list of creative solutions to environmental and social problems. Only recently, however, did we  connect with two groups here in Austin leading the way in edible insects.  World Ento, founded in Georgia in 2010 and recently re-located to Austin, is setting industry standards for safe, sustainably-raised insects.  Little Herds, an Austin non-profit in its final days of a crowd-funding campaign, is on a mission to educate the public about the merits and joys of eating insects.

What are those merits, you ask? Insects are a highly efficient and nutritious source of protein (complete with all 9 essential amino acids), which makes insects far more viable in a resource-limited future than traditional sources.  To give some context, the resources required to raise one pound of beef can raise nine pounds of crickets.  That’s a significant difference, and one we simply can’t afford to ignore as population growth and resource depletion continue.

So how does one eat insects?  Well, with over 2,000 edible species, the options are almost endless.  Chefs from all over the States, including Austin’s own Sonya Cote, are already incorporating insects into their menus.  Not excited about a whole cricket on the end of your fork?  That’s fine, World Ento makes both cricket and mealworm flours that incorporate safely prepared insect meal into white or whole wheat flour.  From there, the possibilities range from chocolate chip cookies, to pancakes, to just about any recipe involving flour.  It’s a simple way to add a healthy, sustainable protein, and the insect flavor and texture are hardly detectable.

World Ento raises and sells clean, safe-to-eat, and ethically harvested insects (Good Karma Killing, as World Ento calls it, is a freezing process that lulls them into a painless stasis), and soon you’ll be able to find them (as a Chocolate “Chirp” Cookie Mix) at in.gredients!

Want to learn more?  Follow World Ento and Little Herds on Twitter, and come out to our pre-party (for this amazing event) next Tuesday, February 18th.  We’ll have tons of samples and a few of the big names in entomophagy on hand to talk to you in person about this exciting movement.  Hop on board – you won’t want to miss this one.

Written by Josh Blaine

February 12, 2014 at 10:37 am

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