Can you eat grasshopper to survive? Are they a good source of protein?
Grasshoppers are edible and protein-rich, which means they can be a good source of nutrition in some situations, for example, in survival.
From Martin Gebhardt. Check out his “About me” page.
If you want to survive in the wilderness without provisions and rely solely on nature, it's advisable to have as many options as possible at your disposal.
One of these options is to eat insects, specifically grasshoppers.
Eating insects still comes with certain inhibitions in Western society.
At the end of the day, grasshoppers and other insects are similar to shrimp, which are well-known to us, and have been consumed in other cultures for thousands of years.
Grasshoppers are widespread, easy to find, and can be prepared wonderfully.
Here, you'll learn how to meet your protein needs (in a survival situation) with the jumping and flying insects.
In short: Can you eat grasshoppers?
If you find yourself in a survival situation, especially in the wilderness, it's good to think outside the box and use every available source of food.
While the idea of eating a grasshopper or cricket may not be appealing to many people, starving is much less appealing.
Grasshoppers can be eaten and are an excellent source of protein. In addition to their nutrient content, they are also useful in survival situations since they live in a variety of habitats.
While attitudes towards eating insects like grasshoppers are still divided in many parts of the Western world, they have been a staple food in other countries for a long time.
In a survival situation, you're in an advantageous position if you know how to find, catch, and prepare grasshoppers. If you are keen to know more, keep reading.
Insects as a delicacy
From the Aztecs to the Assyrian Empire and the ancient Israelites, there is evidence of grasshoppers being a staple food.
Even today, insects are offered as delicacies in Mexico and many parts of South America and are slowly finding their way into Western diets.
Grasshoppers, crickets, and locusts all belong to the order of grasshoppers, which is why I am generally referring to grasshoppers here and occasionally going into more detail about the individual species.
Disclaimer: I am not encouraging you to kill, catch or eat insects. This article is for theoretical purposes in a survival situation. Most insects are protected by law in Germany, where penalties of up to 50,000 euros are imposed. Please observe the applicable laws!
The benefits of incorporating grasshoppers into your diet
Indigenous peoples do not eat insects without reason: they are widespread, there are many species - and especially grasshoppers are very nutritious.
For example, the protein content ranges from about 20 to 50 grams per 100 grams of grasshopper. These are similar or even higher concentrations than in chicken, beef, and pork. However, with beef and pork, the cholesterol level is much higher!
In addition to the protein content, some grasshoppers also have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins. The exact figures, however, vary widely, as the nutrient composition also depends on the feeding sources of the animals.
Finally, the superfood is long-lasting by drying it. The animals are placed in the sun or simmered over the fire. You can now store your newly acquired food for up to a year.
What do grasshoppers taste like?
There are actually differences in taste between different types of animals. Edible grasshoppers are said to have a nutty flavor, grasshoppers have a mild taste like shrimp or other crustaceans, and crickets are said to taste like pine nuts.
Finally, it also depends on the preparation and seasoning. Insects absorb flavors excellently, so the actual taste can be easily overridden. You can work with herbs and spices of your choice to conjure up the most delicious meal possible.
The consistency also depends on the method of preparation, but it is usually described as very crispy and therefore perceived as the most enjoyable.
Where can I find grasshoppers, and how do I catch them?
1. Catching Them Yourself
The simplest method is to use your hands. You have to go into the high grass and stretch your arms out to stir up some grasshoppers and locusts, and then choose your first prey.
You have good chances in the morning, as the animals are still quite sluggish. Take advantage of their morning mood and perfect your catching technique.
The method is simple, but not the easiest. It would be easier with a butterfly net!
You can either bring one with you or make your own catching net from a cloth and a stick. Alternatively, you can also set up a trapping net and drive the animals into the net. Here, you can then collect them from the net, which is easier than fishing them out of the grass.
2. Building a Trap
Don't feel like stomping through the tall grass and catching insects individually?
Then build your own grasshopper trap:
To achieve this, take a container with a lid and place a bait such as fruit pulp or vegetables in it. The stronger it smells, the better! Then wait and close the lid when you catch something.
If you have a PET bottle on hand, you can build a slightly more effective trap:
To accomplish this, cut off the top part of the bottle so that you have a cylinder and a cone. Drill a hole in the lid that is big enough for your prey to enter.
Now put a bait in the cylinder and insert the cone with lid first into the cylinder. You should also lead a path of rough material towards the hole, as the grasshoppers otherwise cannot get over the smooth surface. With a little patience, you should be able to remove the first animals from the trap.
However, I would also catch them by hand in parallel, as I cannot guarantee success with the trap.
Afterward, be sure to check yourself thoroughly for ticks. I often inadvertently bring unwanted creatures back to the camp while catching grasshoppers!
Are there poisonous grasshoppers?
Poisonous animals typically warn potential predators with conspicuous colors. You should also pay attention to these warning signs when searching for food.
In general, inconspicuously colored grasshoppers are not poisonous at first. This includes, for example, the migratory locust, the bush cricket, or other grasshopper species.
One of the few poisonous grasshopper species is the eastern lubber grasshopper (Romalea microptera), which only occurs in North America.
Nevertheless, the animals' diet also has an influence on you. If a grasshopper feeds on leaves that are poisonous to you, this can also trigger a reaction in you.
To be on the safe side, remove the animal before consumption.
2. Fry in a pan: Fry the grasshoppers in oil and season with spices of your choice. Garlic or chili is often used here. Be creative and see what your surroundings offer.
3. Deep-frying: Certainly not very suitable for survival, but still noteworthy. This is how the animals are typically offered at Asian markets.
What happens if you eat raw grasshoppers?
Locusts can carry parasites and nematodes, including tapeworms, so it is always best to cook them. Even if you are starving, the risk is not worth the reward, so avoid ever eating them raw.
Can you get sick from eating grasshoppers?
As long as grasshoppers are properly cooked, there should be no problem getting sick from them. They are basically pure protein, so apart from the taste, it's really no different from eating a piece of cooked chicken.
Do grasshoppers bite?
Locusts do bite. They have mouths designed to cut leaves or fruits. Locusts do not eat meat, but they can bite your hand if they feel threatened.
Can grasshoppers be bred for long-term survival?
Locusts can be bred for consumption, are actually much less harmful to the environment, and are certainly an asset in your self-sufficient garden.
Locusts can perfectly supplement your food supply in the wild and are also delicious when thoroughly prepared. With a little practice and knowledge, you can find and catch the animals for many occasions.
Make sure not to consume the animals raw to avoid parasites and remove the entrails to prevent poisoning.
Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that these are still living beings.
Treat them accordingly and do not let them suffer for long. Be grateful that they can serve as a food source for you, and behave respectfully towards these little acrobats.
Tip: In my article "Eating insects", I also discuss other insects as a food source.
Sources for the guide
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