The thought of consuming insects as a part of our daily diet sounds nothing short of a disgusting nightmare. However, researchers reveal that adding sugar to them develops meat-like flavouring that could make the proposition a little more appealing.
The insects we’re talking about are Mealworms — the larval form of the yellow mealworm beetle.
They’ve been commonly used as snacks for pets or as bait for fishing, they have recently been recognised to be a potential food source for us humans, without impacting the world and resulting in climate change — something chicken, pork and beef are known to do.
In Hee Cho, a researcher at Wonkwang University in South Korea explains that insects are a nutritious source of food beginning in high amounts of fatty acids, minerals, vitamins fibre as well as protein.
They’ve been regarded as a superfood in several Asian, African and South American countries, while Northern American and European countries have found it disgusting.
However, Cho feels that with meat-like flavouring, this gap could be bridged. In the study, researchers found that heating mealworms with sugars and proteins, resulted in caramelisation, developing a range of meat-like and savoury flavours.
And this changed with different cooking methods — steaming mealworms gave a soft sweetcorn-like fragrance, whereas when deep-fried or roasted, the texture and flavours were very similar to shrimp. Volunteers were used in sniff tests to distinguish the most meat-like flavours developed from those.
Switching to insect-based meat could help massively in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, considering around a third of all greenhouse gases that enter our atmosphere are due to raising animals for meat.
Insects, such as mealworms, on the other hand, can be easily raised in large numbers in really tiny spaces, pollution of which would amount to a fraction of what traditional meat releases.
But the main question remains, even after developing a meat-like taste, would you dare to consume a spoonful of mealworm fry? Tell us in the comments below.
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