This week, I cooked raw crickets for the first time. To make crickets to eat, the people I consulted recommended that I place the live crickets in the freezer to slow down their metabolism, so that they will not move when I try to arrange them on the baking tray. Freezing them is also meant to reduce the pain they might experience during cooking as they are asleep when they hit the heat.
I got a pot of fresh water to the boil, plunged the frozen crickets in and then once it came to the boil again, I set my timer for two minutes. When I removed them, I strained them, and then arranged them on a piece of parchment paper on my cookie tray. I made sure they were not crowded because I didn’t want them to steam...I wanted them dry and crispy. Into the oven they went at about 350 F with the fan on(160 C). I roasted them for twenty minutes and then checked to see that they were crispy and removed them, took the parchment off the tray to allow them to cool.
These crickets had been in my freezer for a few days, so I figured they were good and slow, and I decided to do the two-step method: boil them in water for two minutes and then roast them.
So, what did my kitchen smell like while they were boiling? Well, I suppose fermented shrimp comes to mind. Not an overpowering aroma, but it certainly a distinctive one. When they roasted, the aroma was mellower but still somewhat fishy in nature.
I have eaten crickets prepared in a variety of methods. I’ve popped them like one would peanuts...those were dry roasted and slightly salted and spiced and quite delicious.
I’ve eaten them marinated in a salad.
I’ve had them mixed with dates and spices and also mixed with chocolate. All tasty, at no time was I confronted by feelings of yuck or notions of taboo.
But here’s a funny thing. I had saved about half of my raw frozen crickets to give to Cookie Martinez who wanted to experiment with them in advance of our upcoming Crickets on the Tip of Your Tongue Future Food Salon on Thursday April 18th. When I arrived at the Depanneur where her kitchen is, she remarked, “They are still alive, Aruna.”
“Impossible!” I declared, knowing that they had been in my freezer for a good few days. But, alas, she was right! I actually could not see any of the critters moving when I was with her, but when I got home that night, exhausted and having been caught in the rain, as I emptied my knapsack, one of the crickets happily climbed out and escaped under my bookcase. How it managed to get out of the container and how it managed to survive five days in the freezer is beyond me, but there you have it.
Crickets are an amazing food source for many reasons, and one of them is their ability to survive in just about any environment the world over. They are found nearly everywhere and thus can be raised nearly anywhere. In addition to providing amazing protein, they are also full of iron and from a sustainability point of view, they are one of the best animal proteins to raise.
Come taste cricket cookies and canapés and join us for an amazing presentation by cricket reactor inventor, Jakub Dzamba, as well as improv music from the So-Calleds, art installations by the talented Helen Yung and Han Zhang and food and cocktails from Earth and City, Cookie Martinez, Chef Daniel Holloway and direct from the Spoke Club, mixologist Melina Giannelia. There will be prizes for best futuristic or insecty dress/suit and a silent auction for prints, and more!Won’t you join us for a taste of the future? http://futurefoodsalon.eventbrite.ca Visit our website http://alimentaryinitiatives.com/future-food-salon for a promotional code that gets you saves 20%. off the price of the regular ticket.