There are 1400 kinds of insects that are edible for us humans. I’ve never tried one, but it’s quite likely that hunter-gatherers did. This week I will be nibbling on some of our tiny friends and see if they are tasty, healthy and a sustainable alternative for other kinds of food.
Last Friday the Dutch state secretary Sharon Dijksma announced she wants to make it legal to consume insects in the Netherlands, as they might be part of the answer to how to feed the world in years to come. By 2050, our planet will inhabit about 50 billion people, and insects are a great alternative source of proteins.
Some confusion arose amongst those who heard that it is illegal now: what about the shops and restaurants where one can already get insects for consumption? It turns out that it is tolerated by our governmeent. But for a food type to be legal, it has to be tested by the European Food Safety Authority, and there hasn’t been a request for insects. The Dutch Federaal Agentschap voor de Veiligheid van de Voedselketen has allowed 10 types of insects last december in The Netherlands. Making it entirely legal is probably meant as a way to stimulate consumption of it.
Did early homo sapiens eat them?
I’ve asked paleo-anthropologist Paul Storm. He says there is little proof, as insects don’t preserve well, but that since we have always been opportunistic eaters, it’s very probable that we did.
So this week (and maybe I’ll take next week as well) I will figure out:
1. Where to buy insects
2. How to prepare them
3. Which ones are healthiest, tastiest and most sustainable
Any ideas or experience with this? Let me know!