A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, balance accounts, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, solve equations, cook a tasty meal, and eat a few weird creatures. Not all creepy creatures are poisonous though, there are a handful of them that are edible and a source of protein. In other parts of the world, especially in Asian nations, insects are usually a part of their menu. This may sound awful but many Nigerians eat insects too. Not the tiny invisible ones they swallow unknowingly while talking in dirty areas but the ones they deliberately eat for the purpose of food or for fun. Here are some of the insects Nigerians eat.
Cockroaches are the most abundant insects in Nigeria. It is of the botanical order Blattodea and has about 30 species. Although Cockroaches are believed to have a hand in the spread of leprosy, it doesn’t stop Nigerians from taking it as meal snacks. Cockroaches are widely consumed in south-western Nigeria.
Locusts are the swarming phase of certain species of short-horned grasshoppers in the family Acrididae. It is just a bigger version of the grasshopper. They have been used as food throughout history. Even John the Baptist had a taste of it, it was so delicious that he made it his daily meal in the wilderness. Locusts can be cooked in many ways but are often fried, smoked or dried. Nigerians spice up this insect with something sweeter than the honey John used – its fresh pepper, salt and curry. Locust is best eaten fried with palm oil instead of vegetable oil. 100g of locust contains 11.5 g unsaturated fat and 286 mg of cholesterol. It also has fatty acids, palmitoleic, oleic and linolenic acids, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.
3. Winged Termites
Termites come out of their nests under the ground during rainy season. Different tribes have different methods of collecting it, but majority of Nigerians who eat it keep buckets of water outside to allow the insect settle over it. The termites are then scooped out with a sieve and fried.It is a delicacy in South-Western and Eastern Nigeria and has high nutritional value. Termites also have a pleasant taste and smell like nuts when cooked.
Grasshoppers have similar physical features with Locusts, they are also abundant in Nigeria and are found on grasslands. Nigerians eat this insect as well and it can be fried, boiled, salted, or sun-dried. It is a yummy delicacy and can make a good in-between meal snack.
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5. Palm Weevil Larva
The palm weevil larvae is the most delicious insect eaten by Nigerians. It is usually harvested fresh from the stalk of a palm tree, it is then placed on a dry frying pan while it is still alive. No need for oil as the fire heat brings out the larvae’s natural oil – it literally fries itself. This wonderful delicacy has an elastic textured body and contains proteins, omega 3 fatty acids which is good for the heart, and vitamins A and C. Palm weevil larvae is eaten largely in Southern Nigeria. It is referred to as Bayelsa suya, and in Benin city, is sold on the streets like every other snack.
A lot of Nigerian children stray as a result of cricket chase. They dedicate half of their play time to chasing this noisy insect, and when they finally have a handful of it, they take it home to their parents who help them prepare it. Crickets are consumed nationwide.
7. Yam Beetle
8. Giant Water Bugs
This insect, giant water bugs, is also known as toe-biters, Indian toe-biters, and electric-light bugs. They are typically found in freshwater streams and ponds. Giant water bugs are among the not so popular insects eaten in Nigeria, it is eaten by only a few population. Giant water bugs are often collected using large floating traps on ponds, set with black lights to attract them. They are very sumptuous when well prepared and are a high source of proteins and other nutrients.
There is no point contemplating whether to join insect eaters or not. The above mentioned insects are healthy, nutritious, as well as delicious. You would be missing a lot if you do not have a taste of any these insects – at least once.
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