Edible insects are a great novelty in the western culinary scene, we just have to get to know them and learn how to use them in our every-day cooking.
The easiest and most common way to approach this is to start from insect-based flour.
Insect-based flour is the result of grinding dehydrated insects, which is exactly the same process used in the production of standard wheat flour.
Standard flour is used in an endless variety of recipes: sweets, bread, pizza , sauces, and breading, just to name a few.
Insects flour can be used in all the recipes that use flour made of wheat, corn, legumes and so on. All these flours are different from one another, and insect-based flour too has its own characteristics that need to be considered when deciding to use it.
But what are its key characteristics?
A high level of proteins (many of the so-called “complete” proteins, i.e. those containing all 9 amino-acids that our body is not able to produce);
Rich in fibres;
Rich is unsaturated (good) fats and low in saturated fats;
Rich in minerals like potassium, sodium, zinc, phosphorus, copper, manganese and iron;
It contains the majority of vitamins, including vitamin A (or retinol);
There are almost 2,000 insect species in the world that are considered edible, and each species has its own nutritional characteristics. Those more widely used to produce flours are crickets, mealworms, buffalo worms and grasshoppers.
What should we do if we want to include insect-based flour in a recipe that already uses another type of four, such as bread?
It’s fairly simple, we only need to replace between 10 and 20% of the standard flour with the insect-based one, that’s it. Replacing between 10 and 20% of the standard flour will allow us to find the best dose according to taste and needs.
A lot of people ask why it is not possible to use insect-flour only: because of its high level of proteins and its other characteristics, the final result would be too “heavy”, unbalanced and difficult to digest. It is for this reason that if you happened (or will happen) to eat pasta made with insect-based flour, you may notice that a smaller quantity is enough to satisfy your appetite, compared to what you normally eat.
By the way: what insect-based flour tastes like? This is something that many people wonder before trying it. Actually, there are many variables that affect the taste of a dehydrated insect, starting with the species and its feed. Generally speaking, insects have a light taste that reminds toasted hazelnuts or pine nuts.
One last tip, at least for your fist experiences: do compare the label of the insect-based flour you’ve decided to buy with that of the standard flour you have at home, so you can start to have a more precise idea of the differences.
The rest is all about creativity!
Visit our shop and you'll find a wide range of insects flours