And here’s the 2nd part of your wilderness edibles, as promised — the part that mentions the delicacies that aren’t… can’t… technically… be called insects.
These critters have found a place on dinner tables around the world; and luckily for you, you’ll also find them in this here glorious country we have. These juicy, crispy, crunchy bundles of joy should get you through when SHTF, and still be alive when you finally get to reunite with your steaming plate of spaghetti and meatballs (unless you find that you like eating these bastards more than pasta).
So, let’s not dilly-dally, and get on to it. Let’s go!
Do earthworms qualify as bugs? Well, no. There’s a leg-number requirement. Ha. Ha. Haha.
Come on, that was a good one.
Bugs or not, they are edible. Then again, you probably enjoyed them more when you sprinkled salt on them and watched in glee while they writhed in pain when you were but a foolish little ‘un — all that’s about to change. When all else fails, earthworms are a quick and convenient source of sustenance.
If it just rained the night before, spotting them should be purty easy. They’re literally everywhere. If it hasn’t rained, try digging them up from damp soil, in decomposing leaves and plants, or under rocks and debris.
You can consume them raw in an emergency (you’d consume month-old pizza in the fridge if you had to, this I know for certain), but if there was any way you could cook them, please do. Like any other unconventional food item on this article, they can carry parasites — that alone should motivate you to cook the crap out of the things. Besides, do you really want to eat them raw?
Speaking of crap, make sure they don’t have any before you eat them. Squeeze it out of them like toothpaste from the tube.
Grubs and maggots are not the same — they both look disgusting, yes, but the parents are from different species altogether.
Grubs are fat, juicy, sometimes, hairy, usually has legs, and usually white in color — they’re essentially baby beetles, or larvae, to be exact.
Maggots, on the other hand, are thin, yellowish-to-brown, legless, and just… whoo. They look like rice grains come alive.
But, they’re both edible. So, you got that going for you.
Finding maggots in the wild is a simple task — you can find them in rotting flesh, rotting fruits, rotting vegetables, and sometimes even in water — but to be frank, as long as you can associate rotting to something, you’ll find them there. If you can’t find any, just grow your own maggots by leaving some flora or fauna to rot in an easy-to-access place near your shelter.
While none of the things they feed on is safe to eat, the maggots are. They are fascinatingly high in protein for their size and have other beneficial nutrients.
Just boil the maggots until you’re sure they’re cooked through. Enjoy your maggot risotto. Bon appétit.
Slugs and Snails
And you thought you couldn’t be fancy eating like a real survivor in the wild. Snails are a common delicacy in France — called escargots, they’re served as an hors d’oeuvre (appetizer to you, you peasant); cooked in garlic butter, chicken stock, and wine. Fancy, indeed.
Americans will typically only consume snails if they have to so they won’t DIE, of course. Shouldn’t stop, still.
Snail and slug flesh are harm-free in its natural state, but there’s a high likelihood that the slimy bugger has eaten something that can kill you — like poisonous plants or mushrooms. There is a risk of getting rat lungworm, which can give you eosinophilic meningitis (causing severe brain and nervous system damage). These diseases usually take refuge in their digestive tract, so cooking them won’t necessarily mean that they’re safe to eat.
So why risk it? Because they’re molluscs. Sound familiar?
Of course, they should! Closely related to abalones and conches, they should go down easier if they taste more familiar to you. Feed them with plants you know are safe for consumption for a week, then purge them through fasting. Make sure to cook them well.
Fried spider is a delicacy in Cambodia. They roast them on an open fire to get rid of all the hairs, then deep fry them — once the legs curl up, presto! Dinner’s served.
American tarantulas can be found in the American Southwest primarily — specifically states such as California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri and because of an invasive species—we now have Florida.
If there’s is no way to fry them, just skewer the tarantulas over your campfire to get rid of all the hairs, and make sure you do — New World tarantulas (those found in North and South America — the ones we got) are equipped with urticating hairs (more bristles than hairs, really) on their abdomens, and throw these barbed bristles as the first line of defense. These bristles irritate sensitive areas of the body and specifically target curious animals (YOU) which may sniff these bristles into the mucous membranes of the nose.
The legs are crispy, the flesh of the thorax is passable, but be forewarned: the abdomen has a sweet, bitter, bile flavor to it. Unless you’re into that.
With all this knowledge, you’re on your way to becoming a true survivor. Maybe beat Bear Grylls on his own game.