By Joseph Parish
In 2004 Israel experienced a severe incursion of locust which reached biblical magnitudes. This famished swarm of gluttonous vegetarians devastated a significant amount of vegetation leaving little in their wake for human consumption. The locust was promptly approved for human applications and several recipe books were composed instructing the public on how to prepare these creatures for the dinner table.
Swarms of Locust can cover from one to as much as 100 kilometers in range. They are typically spread geographically by means of the wind. A single locust can consume two grams of plant life daily. What this amounts to is that a million locust can eat as much food as 5,000 people per day. It is not bizarre for a locust to eat its own weight in food daily. These insects will scoff just about anything which will grow and can strip every bit of vegetation from an area when they attach.
Approximately 70 percent of this vast insect family devours specific species of plants. Locusts however, are considered to be general feeders who crave a very broad array of plants.
Locust as a food has never caught on as a delicacy but has been used mostly for feeding the impoverished people within many third world countries. You won’t find them in your local butcher shop all cleaned and prepared to eat however there are several ways that are preferred for eating locusts. The best of these methods would be the old fashion Egyptian way. The early Egyptians rejoiced at locust visitations. They would rush to gather the creatures up and proceed to fill barrel upon barrel of salted brine with them. It is often said the best way to enjoy the locust is having them pickled.
During the above quoted invasion it was recommended to the Israeli’s that they fry the creatures as a means of preparation. You will find that locust readily provides one with a healthy meal which is rich in protein. They are a tasty snack which can gamely be fried, boiled, grilled or roasted. It is fairly simple to prepare these foods and in an emergency situation they could very well save your life. One simple method of preparation will require the following items:
A thin Stick
A means of starting a fire
You will begin by first collecting a lot of locust. When I say a lot I really mean a lot. You will require a good number of them in order to satisfy your needs. Grab the locust by its thorax and gently and slowly pull on the head. When properly done this will not only remove the locusts head but additionally remove the stomach and the guts.
Now take the thin stick and continue to remove more of the guts from the inside of the locust. Run the stick around the head cavity and scrape it out completely. If you push the stick completely through the head cavity and directly through the locust you can prepare it as a kabob. Lastly, place the stick close to the fire to roast slowly. A word of caution would be sufficed here. Make certain that you cook the locust very well otherwise you risk obtaining a case of tapeworms.
There you have it – the simple and quick survival way of preparing the locust. Now I would like to give you a few recipes that you may wish to try in your home. They are listed below. Many of these recipes originated from the “Israel Insider”.
To make Tinjiya you must first remove the hind legs and the wings from the locusts. Boil them in a small quantity of water until they are soft. Add a bit of salt and spices as desired. Now fry them until they are a golden brown in color.
Another recipe that you can try is Sikonyane. This is a Swazi recipe and requires a few preliminary steps. Start by preparing some hot embers to roast the whole locust. Make sure to remove the various body parts such as wings, head and legs as you will eat only the breast part of the insect.
An interesting note here is that the roasted locust can be ground to a very fine powder. This locust powder will keep for extremely long periods of time and can be used in survival situations.
In Cambodia the cooks will take several dozen adult locusts and stuff a peanut in the slit abdomen of the insect. They will then grill the locust in a wok adding oil and a pinch of salt. Be sure not to overcook the insect.
A particularly tasty recipe is to Barbecue the locust. Prepare your charcoal as you would for any BBQ. Place about a dozen locusts on your skewer being sure to stab each of them through the abdomen. Keep in mind that several of these skewers might be required for each person. Place the completed skewers on the hot embers and turn continuously to avoid burning the locust. When done they should be a golden brown color.
Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish