Black Soldier Fly Larvae are a leading insect for feed applications. If you have ever seen a chicken eat BSFL, you will know why, the love it! No one seems to be targeting the use of BSFL for food. Let’s answer the question on what they taste like.
EnviroFlight kindly provided samples for evaluation. Please note that their production system is designed for feed applications and not food.
Black Soldier Fly Larvae – Dried, Whole
Aroma – pungent, strong earthy, fishy. In my opinion, the aroma is not very appetizing. In some respects, similar to dry roasted cricket powder. BSLF is fishy vs shrimp-like and is stronger.
Flavor – earthy, chocolate-like, malty, the fish flavor perception is very low, mildly sweet. The taste is a lot better than the aroma.
Texture – the dried whole BSFL have a very soft texture. They mostly dissolve upon chewing. The texture was not chalky.
Black Soldier Fly Larvae – Oil, Crude
The flavor had more pronounced chocolate/malty flavors. The fat was solid at room temperature. When warmed slightly to melt, the color is slightly yellow.
Defatted, milled Black Soldier Fly Meal (much of the fat is removed by mechanic press prior to milling)
Aroma and flavor was similar to the dried whole BSFL. The dried whole tasted slightly better as the fat portion was not removed. The texture was not chalky.
The powder did not dissolve well in water.
Can BSFL be used as a food ingredient?
The strong aroma and flavor pose challenges for using BSFL as a food ingredient. The preferred culinary use would be to cook fresh (not dried) BSFL. The flavor of fresh is likely a lot milder and more palatable. Businesses harvesting BSFL are also focused on feed applications but that could change.
There are techniques to reduce flavor that can be applied to dried product. Solvent extraction using ethanol or hexane should work. Another is super-critical carbon dioxide extraction. It would be interesting to try these on cricket powder too.