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Yes, cricket flour, flour made from dried crickets. It’s a good thing! My big sister Jill told me about cricket flour a year or two ago, after hearing about it on NPR, I think? I was on board immediately. As long as it tastes good, one, and two, what are they feeding the crickets? Because what they feed the bugs is just as important as what they feed cattle or chicken or pigs, right? I don’t want the crickets I’m eating being fed a “vegetarian diet!” Red flags of GMO corn and soy go up!
I dragged my feet creating cricket flour recipes because the product is still catching on in this country; so it’s harder to find well-sourced crickets. A lot of cricket flour is coming out of China, and some out of other Asian countries; but their vegetarian diets, “of mixed grains and vegetables” don’t set my mind at ease.
I like this company because they are sustainably-minded and quite conscientious. They are promoting cricket flour as an environmental choice and offer a gluten-free, organic, non-GM product. They are a Canadian company from whom it is easy to order.
WHO ARE THE LEADERS IN PROMOTING ENTOMOPHAGY (the eating of insects) IN NORTH AMERICA?
Core growers include Next Millennium Farms, Aspire and Big Cricket Farms. Today’s Cricket Flour oriented brands include Exo, Chapul, Six Foods, Hopper Foods and Bitty Foods. Advocates and industry experts include Tiny Farms and Little Herds.
These are all companies to look for if you’re interested in cricket flour or more adventurous bug eating. There are now protein powders and protein bars made from cricket flour, not to mention candies and snacks. Some of these foods are made from other edible insects: meal worms, grubs, beetles and scorpions. There are over 1000 species of edible insects in the world.
WHAT’S THE POINT?
Crickets produce fewer greenhouse gases than conventional beef and can be raised on less land. They are high in protein, good fats, calcium, iron, zinc and B vitamins- everything you’d hope for when eating any meat source. 80% of the world’s population consumes insects. But to Americans it is taboo.
Well, no longer. With concerns about poor animal husbandry principles and its ill effects on land, air, and ozone, increasing numbers of radical foodies have made this dietary change, to benefit the planet. The goal is to reduce one’s carbon footprint, not by going vegan or vegetarian, (because our bodies are obviously omnivorous by design), but by eating insects.
For me, and many other grain-free foodies who have food allergies, there is an additional point, or benefit, to using cricket flour. I try to limit my nut consumption. I am allergic to coconut flour and let’s face it: coconut flour is great but it has its limitations. Cricket flour is a new flour replacement, providing nutritional variety in our diet as well as the functional favor of filling in for other flour substitutes. While none of us should have too many nuts, in a diet of implicit moderation cricket flour is hard to overdo.
Cricket flour tastes a lot like buckwheat. It’s got a seed-like quality that is complex and delicious!
I love cricket flour because it contains all 16 amino acids. Being a meat, it’s a complete protein unlike other grain-free flour substitutes.
My recipe here also features chia seeds and grass-fed eggs. So LOTS of protein in these cakes, no sugar and long-release nutrient absorption from the chia seeds, which we find, in our family, helps us to feel full, satisfied, and energetic.
Crickets are crustaceans. So if you have a shellfish allergy you may also be allergic to crickets.
Also, for sourcing, please follow the link above to Next Millennium Farms. Not all cricket flour is the same. This is the product I buy because it is gluten-free, organic and non-GM. If you buy from other sources they will likely not be gluten-free, organic or non-GM.
HOW TO USE IT IN RECIPES
Ground up crustaceans are not technically flour, even if they are “floured.” Therefore, the product does behave differently in baked goods than coconut or nut flours. For this reason it is best used in conjunction with one other flour or flour substitute. (In this case I have used chia seeds.) You can use up to 1/3 cup of cricket flour in any grain-free recipe. It does have a similar effect; it just can’t be used in large amounts or it will adversely affect the texture.
Place all the ingredients in a blender.
Blend on medium speed for 30 seconds, or until you have a mostly smooth batter.
Allow the batter to set up and thicken for 10-15 minutes. The chia seeds will perform this action.
Heat a griddle or cast iron skillet with 1 T. preferred fat and fry up those pancakes, adding more fat as needed. They will cook as traditional pancakes do.