Becca Rose
May 15, 2013 6:00 am

When I was a kid, I would frequently dare my younger sister to eat from the natural flora and fauna of our backyard. Bugs, insects, flowers – you name it, she’d do it. Out of all the crazy things she consumed, only one of them poisoned her, and this is the story of how I basically killed my sister (kidding). But seriously, all the insects she ate never harmed her. It was a plant that had my parents on the phone to poison control.

Dave knows all about eating insects, too. Except Dave is not five years old like my sister was when she went through that phase. He’s a grown man who really enjoys consuming insects–but don’t worry, he totally freezes them to death first so it’s more humane.

In honor of Dave and all the other adults, small children and conniving older sisters out there, here are ten insects you can (reasonably safely) consume. Out of the almost one-million-strong number of insect species on the planet, about fifteen hundred of these guys have been confirmed safe to eat. However, it is advisable to avoid brightly-colored insects, because they might contain poisons. Also if you’re allergic to shellfish, don’t eat bugs. Like Dave says, shellfish are basically the insects of the ocean. Makes sense.

Go ahead, indulge! But please just remember, if you end up calling poison control, I didn’t dare you to do anything.

1. Grasshoppers.

Seriously, from all accounts, grasshoppers are a real delicacy. They’re meaty, and you can grill ‘em. Americans love meat AND grilling things! What’s not to love?

2. Crickets.

Similar to grasshoppers in species, crunch, but not in preparation. Crickets are best paired with something spicy and a good beer. Just like beer-battered fish, but like, cheaper!

3. Scorpions.

Good news: you can totally eat scorpions, as long as you cook them first! Squeamish about poison? Don’t worry, it basically goes away once you cook the suckers. It’s science. But if you’re really worried, chop that stinger off and dispose of it safely. Lay it over a bed of steamed asparagus and present it to your dinner guests with a proud flourish.

4. Potato Bugs.

Use them as garnish on–wait for it–baked potatoes. Enjoy the (literally) delicious irony.

5. Ants.

Little-known fact about ants: They have a delectable peppery flavor. Out camping and run out of spices to use on your fried eggs? Just gather up a few local ant residents and boom, you’ve got seasoning. I mean, probably don’t eat red-hot-fire-ants. But normal household ants oughta be fine. Just be sure to cook them first.

6. Worms.

Have you run out of creative salad ideas? Toss some worms into the mix. Maybe chop them up into little pieces first, I don’t know. However you like your worms.

7. Termites.

Listen, if termites are good enough for chimpanzees, they’re good enough for us. Right? That’s how this works?

8. Tarantulas.

I mean, if eight fuzzy legs sounds appealing to you… best paired with copious amounts of a nice Merlot, so you can hopefully forget that you actually did this by morning.

9. Leeches.

The only problem with eating leeches…well, I mean, the main problem with eating leeches is that their slimy texture can trigger the gag reflex, and you wouldn’t want to eject your tasty lunch of leeches, now would you? Especially after you went to all the trouble of gathering them. Grind them up into a paste, bake the paste, and you will enjoy your Crisps De Leeches much more efficiently.

10. Beetle Larvae.

I don’t know how you’d go about acquiring beetle larvae. I mean, that’s your business. But once you get it, it’s best to eat mashed up inside of something else. Maybe mac’n’cheese? I’ll let you try it and get back to me.

Featured image via TLC