Tag Archives: Canning

Cricket Tasting Notes – Poached, Sauteed and Canned

The Crickets

I purchased 1000 1-inch crickets via mail order from an animal feed insect farm in the US. The crickets were shipped from a different farm than I ordered from. I’m not sure why.

Unfortunately, the package did not meet the live guarantee. There were about 2-3% crickets that were past their prime. I refrigerated the whole package for an hour then sorted the crickets on the patio. Some were lively but I was able to separate the good ones from the bad ones and frass. It was quite an event. After sorting, the crickets were placed in the freezer until used. 1000 crickets yielded 1 lb. I didn’t measure this but the bulk volume was about 5 cups.

It would be a great service if cricket farms offered sorted frozen crickets (like Millennium Farms). Live crickets can easily be separated from the chaff at the farm. The crickets that climb the egg cartoon type ladders are alive and well. They can then be place directly into a freezer. Frozen crickets might be something pet lizards and owners like too. Frozen is more convenient and better tasting than dehydrated.

Three Preparations:Cricket canned poached sauteed

Poached: Crickets were poached in boiling salted water for 2 minutes

Sauteed: Crickets were sauteed in hot neutral vegetable oil for 2 minutes

Canned: Crickets were poached in boiling water for 2 minutes, drained, added to glass canning jars. Boiling water was added to cover crickets, a pinch of salt was added. Crickets were processed for 90 minutes at 15 PSI (250 Degrees F) using recommended canning procedures.

Tasting Notes:

Poached: Medium intensity flavor impact. Earthy/mushroom-like, brothy, vegetative, sulfury. The texture of the exoskeleton was pliable and slightly chewy. Females had crunch from the eggs.

Sauteed: Stronger in flavor. Shrimp/seafood like flavor notes were noticeable. The shell was slightly brittle and broke apart easily with chewing.

Canned: Mild in flavor. Earthy, brothy, vegetative flavor notes. The texture was very soft. The difference between males and females was less noticeable. The canning liquid was slightly cloudy and brown in color (similar to beef broth). The canning liquid was brothy/meaty in flavor and had a strong umami impact.

Recipe Ideas:cricket salad on cracker

Here is what we did with our bounty. The poached crickets were chopped and used in a scallion, mushroom and cricket omelet. Some of the poached crickets are being made into cricket flour. The sauteed crickets were just eaten as is with a little salt. Saute to your liking, I would have preferred them a little more crisp. The canned crickets were used in cricket salad (crickets, celery and mayo) on crackers. All were well liked.

“Canned” Bugs – Part II

My quest for canned insects has continued. I came across another pet food brand, JarassiPet, that produces canned insects. The information states that “nutrients and moisture are locked in the can”. I went to the local pet food supplier to pick up a can. I couldn’t find any so I asked for help. They didn’t have JarassiPet in stock but I was referred to ZooMed’s products. The customer service person pointed out that ZooMed also has “natural juices locked in the can”. Also that they are not for human consumption. I could hear the insects rattling around (sounded dry) in the can and it is made in China but I got a Can O’ Grasshoppers anyway.

Can O’ Grasshoppers was very aromatic with caramel-like aromas being prominent. I stir fried them in hot oil before tasting. They were generally not edible as prepared. Extremely strong and unusual sweet flavor and the main texture component was the chitin shell, the insides were sort of shriveled up and dark in color.

This was not what I expected so I messaged ZooMed. What I learned is that they are processed by adding insects to the can (without water) and ‘roasting’ them in the can. They probably use a retort procedure that kills all of the bacteria and preserves the grasshoppers. The process creates the strong roasted notes that, apparently, turtles enjoy.

“Canned” Bugs

I have looked into buying canned insects for using in recipes. Cricket salad on toasted bread anyone? But I could not find any canned insects. Thailand Unique has canned insects and there is the Can–O line of products from Zoo Med’s (pet food supplier). These are just dried insects put into cans! Compare dehydrated chicken that you would find in Ramen noodle cups to canned chicken. The quality is much better in a canned product.

Insects will spoil in ambient condition without processing. Dehydration is a great option for food preservation. I think that canning is even better. Canned insects will have a long shelf life, are safe, have high nutritional quality and are easy to use. I would love to have a few cans of meal worms or crickets in my fallout shelter (if I had one).

The process would be similar to canning chicken or other meat. I recommend blanching first then putting insect into jars and topping it off with seasoned water. Process the jars for 90 minutes at 15 PSI.

While we are on the topic of food preservation, freezing is also a great way to store insects. The best analogy for freezing insects is freezing shrimp. Cook them first or not. Just pop them out of your freezer when you are ready to cook them.