How to harvest your own insects for food

Can a new insect-breeding device make eating insects more appetizing?
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor

Earlier this year, the United Nations basically said we would all be better off -- economically, environmentally, etc -- if we added more insects to our diets.

But while 2 billion people around the world already supplement their diets with insects and one of the world's top restaurants is experimenting with insects, convincing Western consumers that insects could be a legitimate part of their diet could prove difficult, especially since what we eat is so closely linked to identity.

The other problem with eating insects in, say, the United States is that harvesting them for consumption isn't easy. You can't find them at your local grocery store and turning over a log in order to find dinner sounds pretty unappetizing. But what if there was an easier way to harvest insects for food?

Katharina Unger, an industrial designer from Austria, has come up with a gorgeous design concept for an in-home insect-breeding device that could make eating insects more appetizing.

The concept is called Farm 432 because after 432 hours (18 days) one gram of black soldier fly eggs can be turned into 2.4 kilograms of larvae protein. According to Unger, the larvae falls clean into a harvesting bucket where it's immediately ready to eat. Here's how it works:

Why black soldier flies? Here's what Unger has to say:

Black soldier fly adults don´t eat, the larvae can be fed on bio waste, therefore the production almost costs no water or CO2. Black soldier fly larvae are one of the most efficient protein converters in insects, containing up to 42% of protein, a lot of calcium and amino acids.

Just to compare, it takes about 10 kilograms of feed to produce one kilogram of beef.

And the taste? A "nutty, almost meaty flavor."

This concept succeeds at providing a clean, fairly hands-off, and seemingly simple way for someone with little insect-eating experience to become an insect-protein pro. Of course, it's just a concept so it's not available at stores. But even if it does make it to market, will it change how we view eating insects? Probably not, but it does make the idea more tangible.

[Hat tip: Fast Company]

Photo: Katharina Unger

Read more of insect eating and the future of food:

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Editorial standards