Farming Insects – Would you like your crickets milled or in their entirety?

In 2012, Aspire Food Group began its journey to address food security in urban areas through insect farming and one year later, their hard work paid off. In 2013, Aspire won the Hult Prize. The Hult’s $1M USD contribution to the enterprise enabled the group to establish businesses in the United States, Ghana and Mexico.

In 100 grams of cricket:
121 calories
12.9 g of protein
5.5 g fat
5.1 g carbohydrates
75.8 mg calcium
9.5 mg iron
3.10 mg niacin
1.09 mg riboflavin
185.3 mg phosphorous
0.36 mg thiamine
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization also had entomophagy on the plate in 2013, when they published Edible Insects: future prospects for food and feed security. In it, they suggest the promotion of eating insects for three key reasons: health, environment and livelihood.

But what is insect farming actually like? To find the answer to that question, we contacted Robert Nathan Allen, Aspire U.S.’s marketing manager based out of Texas, where they rear and process crickets.

Find Aspire U.S. on Twitter

Allen was able to provide us with all kinds of information about the business, and entomophagy. He talked to topics ranging from insect nutrition and preparation to vegan/vegetarian opinion and farming options. In addition, Allen told the story of the first time he (intentionally) tried edible insects, a mere 3 years ago.

Find “Gluten Free Chocolate Chirp Cookies” and links to download the podcast, by scrolling past the video player.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chirp Cookies

Photo: Meghan Young, Ento-Graphics Justin Kyle
Photo: Meghan Young, Ento-Graphics Justin Kyle

11 oz (one bag) semi-sweet or 60% cocoa chocolate chips
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened but not melting
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour
3/4 cup 100% pure cricket powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt pinch of seasalt (optional)
1 cup crickets, walnuts or pecans, roasted and chopped (optional) (crickets obviously preferred)

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Heat oven to 350ºF.
2. Stir flour with baking soda and salt; set aside.
3. Combine and beat eggs in a separate bowl; set aside.
4. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy and lightened in color. Add eggs and vanilla, one at a time. Mix on low speed until incorporated. Blend flour mixture into creamed mixture in parts, making sure all the dry flour is moistened. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.
5. Chill the dough for a few hours; I prefer to leave it in the fridge overnight to make sure the cookies are light and puffy, instead of runny and flat.
6. Form into small balls or drop by tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets or baking pans lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle a pinch of seas salt on each ball of dough.
7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and place on cooling rack to prevent burned bottoms.

If you’re interested in trying crickets, or cricket powder, Aspire U.S. didn’t just share a recipe with us, they also gave the first 100 listeners/readers 10% off using promo code: RealAg.

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