There could come a time in your life when you are stranded in the wilderness. It’s cold. You’re thirsty. You’re hungry. Really, really hungry.
You might be faced with a choice:
While insects are a staple of some folks’ protein around the world, the thought of eating bugs is disgusting to most Americans.
So if you decide you’re going to fill part of that empty space in your stomach with creepy, crawling bugs, there are a few things you should know. First of all, bugs are generally high in protein and some minerals, but they are so small that you’re going to need more than just a few to satiate yourself.
Secondly, it’s important to know which bugs to avoid. For example, if you notice a foul odor from a bug after you’ve grabbed it, don’t eat it. If a bug doesn’t even bother trying to avoid you, such as a beetle, let it keep marching on its way.
If the bug you have your eye on is brightly colored, like a caterpillar, leave it be because it’s probably toxic. Some beetles, spiders and ants can be eaten, but others shouldn’t be. If you don’t know which is which, it’s best to just say no.
So what’s left? Well, if you can capture larvae, grubs, termites or worms, bon appetit. Depending on where you are stranded, earthworms could be the easiest food source to find. If you can hold them down, feel free to eat as many as you want.
Probably the least nauseating bugs to eat, if you can catch them, are grasshoppers, crickets and locusts. They’re high in protein, minerals and nutrients. But avoid them if they are brightly colored. And if you see plenty of cockroaches around, have at them.
The best way to prepare these grasshoppers and roaches is to first rip their heads off and clip off their ankles and feet. Then, skewer what’s left on a wire or thin stick and toast them over your campfire coals. If you use enough seasoning, you might be able to convince yourself that you’re eating something else.
If you’re feeling adventurous, scorpions are definitely edible and high in protein. But you have to make sure you cut off the first two end sections containing the poison and tail-tip stinger. Scorpions can be eaten raw and alive, or you can roast them over a campfire like a kabob.
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