When you are in the middle of a survival situation, you’ll have to do what you have to if you want to survive. Not what you want to, not what you like, but what you have to.
Sometimes a necessity means you’ll eat unpleasant things that you wouldn’t normally consider.
But, if you have the mettle or just get hungry enough, you’ll find that there are all sorts of animals out in nature that is not only edible but highly nutritious.
Many of them are found among insects. How about the common, humble cricket for instance? Can you eat crickets in a survival situation?
Yes, you can eat crickets to survive. They are plentiful, easy to catch, and highly nutritious, making them a great option as survival food. They should be cooked before consuming for safety, however.
The thought of eating insects is more than enough to turn the stomach of some people, and even though there might be a cultural taboo about doing so insects have been eaten for ages around the world.
But all you need to know is they are nutritious, safe, and may save your life when you are in a bind and starving. Keep reading and we will tell you everything you need to know about eating crickets for survival.
Where Can Crickets Be Found?
Crickets are among the most common insects in the world, inhabiting most parts of the globe except the very coldest regions.
They may be found in deep forests, tropical locales, caves, beaches, swamps, planes, and every sort of biome in between.
This is good news for survivors because wherever you happen to be there is an excellent chance that crickets can be found in the area if you know where to look.
Crickets don’t have much in the way of defense, so their primary strategy for self-preservation is hiding, especially during the day.
Look in out of the way places beneath foliage, rocks, and other obstacles that can conceal them and you’ll often find them in great multitudes.
Depending on the species, some prefer to inhabit trees and bushes while others are subterranean, burrowing through the soil and seeking out caves and holes to live in.
They can also be found in rotting tree stumps or fallen trees, and even living in sand dunes.
No matter where you find them and what species you are dealing with, you will have little trouble gathering enough to make a meal.
Are all Cricket Species Safe to Eat?
So long as they are correctly prepared, it seems that the answer is yes: there are no known toxic or poisonous cricket species.
So long as you have positively identified the insect as a cricket, you can rest easy knowing that it is safe to eat. This is a great reason to get acquainted with all of the various cricket species in your neck of the woods.
Nutritional Facts about Crickets
Crickets, and products made from crickets, are a popular topic right now and very trendy among those who fancy themselves saviors of the planet.
This, naturally, has led to much in the way of political and cultural bickering which I absolutely will not be touching here.
However, when you consider crickets simply as a viable source of food. They are extremely rich in protein and many nutrients that you need to survive.
Crickets contain a great assortment of B vitamins and lots of fiber, along with tons of iron and calcium. Other minerals they happen to be rich in include potassium, magnesium, zinc, and copper.
And it does not take too many crickets to make a filling meal, meaning that you can get satiated eating them alone.
You can do a lot worse than crickets for food when you’re in the middle of a survival situation and they are a great supplement to other wild-forged or wild-caught edibles.
What Do Crickets Taste like?
Don’t believe what some people tell you when it comes to the taste of cricket: they do not, I repeat do not, taste like chicken.
Crickets taste like crickets, but they aren’t necessarily unpleasant when they are cooked.
Raw, they taste gritty and pretty gross, frankly. When cooked plain, the closest analogue flavor would probably be described as nutty.
However, crickets are prepared as food in many countries around the world, both as a snack and as an ingredient, and they have been for many centuries.
This means there are all sorts of ways to prepare them using all kinds of seasonings, and they generally taste quite agreeable when cooked and properly seasoned.
Can You Eat Crickets Alive?
You can, but this is not a great idea. The experience is going to be extremely harrowing, both due to the gross flavor of a live raw cricket and also because the poor thing is going to fight to survive while you are chewing it up.
Not to mention, any live or raw animal, including crickets, likely contain germs and parasites that can make you sick. More on that later.
Can You Eat Crickets Raw?
You can, and if you’re in a truly desperate situation this is much preferable to eating them alive and kicking, literally.
Taking a little bit of time to dispatch and prepare the cricket for consumption will improve the texture and probably reduce your stress, though they still will not taste very good.
Your best bet for making a meal out of crickets is to kill them and clean them prior to cooking. Remove the head and the antenna, and the spiny rear legs along with any other pokey, sharp bits.
If the cricket is larger, it is also advised that you remove the wings since they are very tough and gritty.
This isn’t just to produce better flavor and texture, either. Many insects have sharp claws, spines and other features on their exoskeleton that help them with locomotion and defense, and these can puncture the tissues of your mouth or even get caught in your throat.
Once that is done, cook the crickets. You can gently pan fry them, roast them on a skewer or deep fry them if you have enough resources and time.
When prepared in many countries around the world as cuisine they are typically cooked very thoroughly and heavily seasoned for best taste.
Pan-frying your crickets with butter or oil, some garlic and any other seasonings you enjoy will probably produce a highly agreeable and tasty meal.
Are There Risks Associated with Eating Crickets?
There are a couple of risks to be aware of when eating crickets as food. The first and most obvious is that of foodborne illness when eating crickets raw or undercooked.
Crickets can host germs and parasites capable of infecting humans, and several can cause food poisoning.
Although food poisoning is not the worst thing in the world, not right now, in the middle of a survival situation it could prove to be deadly.
Vomiting and diarrhea will rapidly dehydrate you and deplete electrolytes also, making it far harder to take care of the tasks that you need to tend to.
Also crickets, like many insects, have an exoskeleton composed of chitin. Chitin is highly indigestible in humans, and though the exoskeleton can be removed or reduced in order to lower the amount of chitin ingested, regular intake has been associated with the blocking of nutrient absorption.
In the short term, this is probably a non-factor, particularly in a survival situation, but more research must be done until the long-term risk factors of high chitin intake are known. Something to keep in mind!
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.