In some cultures around the world, insects feature heavily on the menu. Throughout Asia, Africa and South America bugs make up an important resource of nutrition.
Similarly, bugs have commonly been turned to as a food of desperation by those in survival situations or living in times of extreme lack. It sounds gross, and it is, but that’s life sometimes!
How about one of the biggest and burliest bugs around, the grasshopper? Can you eat grasshoppers to survive?
Yes, you can eat grasshoppers to survive. In fact, they’re actually highly nutritious and contain plenty of protein, fat, carbs, and many vitamins and minerals. They’re easy to catch and prepare.
If you want to be truly ready to face food scarcity in a survival situation, you will need to get on board with the idea of eating bugs.
Other forms of animal protein require a lot more work to catch and prepare, and are often much harder to come by.
We’ll tell you everything you need to know on the topic of eating grasshoppers below.
Can You Really Eat Grasshoppers?
Yes, you can. People have been eating grasshoppers for ages, and they continue to do so today.
They are a popular, common food in many parts of the world, particularly in Asia and South America.
There are at least 11,000 different species of grasshopper, and they can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Most of them are edible!
Why Would You Ever Eat Grasshoppers?
If you inhabit a western nation, insects probably have less than zero appeal to you as a food. They likely incite disgust!
This is especially true considering some powerful global interests have made it a point to get people to give up the mammalian protein in lieu of eating plant-based alternatives and bunches of crickets.
Putting that cultural and political baggage aside, there is a very real and practical reason why you might choose or be forced to eat grasshoppers.
If you were ever in a legit survival situation and either had no food or ran out of food, grasshoppers would make for a great replacement.
They are an excellent source of nutrition, and they’re easy to catch and prepare compared to alternatives.
Grasshoppers might be the difference between a rumbling tummy, plummeting energy and death or surviving whatever has befallen you.
What is the Nutritional Profile of Grasshoppers?
Grasshoppers are not just something to choke down in order to stave off starvation. Quite the contrary, grasshoppers are highly nutritious and can definitely supply you with energy.
Grasshoppers contain nearly as much protein as an equivalent serving of beef, and they have a good balance of carbs and fat as well.
Grasshoppers also contain essential vitamins and minerals, and are particularly high in iron and calcium.
You might not think to worry about micronutrients in common survival scenarios, but if you wind up stuck out there a while they could make all the difference.
Grasshoppers Can be an Excellent Survival Resource
For survivors and adventurers all over the globe, grasshoppers are a wonderful survival resource.
Plentiful, easy to catch, and nutritious, they can easily supplement your survival rations or replace them when you run out.
Let’s consider what you’d have to go through in order to catch or kill other animal-protein equivalents.
Small game like rabbits or squirrels can be difficult to track and catch, and you’ll need a weapon and some luck or plenty of traps and even more luck. Both approaches take time and energy you may not have.
Larger game is even more difficult to harvest, requiring more time and energy to bring down and often substantial risk as well.
Compare that to grasshoppers, which are relatively easy to catch by hand (or with an improvised net) and require no weapons or special equipment and no real risk.
Considering the nutrition they bring to the table I think I know which way I’d try if the chips were down.
Can You Eat Grasshoppers Raw?
Yes, you can eat grasshoppers raw although the taste and texture might best be described as “acquired”. If you can get past that, eating them raw has some advantages for the survivor. First and foremost, it’s incredibly easy.
No need to build a fire or carry a stove around with you, just clean them, pop them in your mouth and chew.
Second, raw grasshoppers are more nutritious than cooked ones. Cooking grasshoppers does somewhat deplete their nutrients.
However, raw grasshoppers expose you to potentially dangerous germs and parasites. More on that in a minute.
Can You Eat Grasshoppers Cooked?
Yes, you can, and you should! If you have the means to do so, cooking grasshoppers is a great way to make them far more palatable and increase their safety.
Thorough cooking easily eradicates germs and kills parasites that can make you gravely sick, worsening an already bad situation. Grasshoppers can be cooked in a variety of ways, including roasted, boiled, or pan-fried.
If you have the time, resources and opportunity, always cook your ‘hoppers before you eat them!
What Do Grasshoppers Taste Like?
This is a tough question to answer, as grasshoppers can taste quite different depending on various factors like diet and species.
Some people say they taste somewhat like shrimp, while others liken the flavor to that of nuts. The best way to find out is to try one for yourself!
What’s the Easiest Way to Catch Grasshoppers?
Grasshoppers are not terribly hard to catch. They are, however, quite good at avoiding being eaten.
The easiest way to catch grasshoppers is to find a spot where they’re plentiful and use your hands or net (or even a rigid, leafy branch) to swat them down before collecting them in a bag.
Grasshoppers are visual creatures and will usually see you coming from a little ways off, but if you approach slowly they often won’t try to jump away or fly off before you get close enough to nab them.
Grasshoppers are reasonably good fliers, but slow, and they usually fly more or less straight and level, or else in long, broad arcs as they move from place to place.
This makes them easy to swat right out of the air in a pinch. To avoid this, approach them from downwind if possible.
You should not have too much trouble. Once you have a good amount you can take them to camp and cook them up.
Preparing Grasshoppers Properly
Cooked or not, you don’t want to just cram a whole, intact grasshopper in your mouth. Like all creatures, grasshoppers have parts that are good for eating and others that are decidedly less so.
Some parts just lack nutritional value or taste bad. Others might actually hurt you!
You’ll want to remove the legs, wings, and antennae before cooking or eating them. Take a look at the rear legs in particular: thick, covered in spines, and generally inedible.
It isn’t out of the question that you could choke on those bad boys if you tried to swallow them, to say nothing of what they could do to your mouth.
You can remove these bad bits by gently pulling them off or cutting them away with a sharp knife.
If you’re going to eat them raw you might also want to give them a good rinse first if you can, just to wash away any dirt, debris, and some germs.
For cooking, the easiest method by far is roasting them on a spit until well done or pan frying them if you have cookware. After that, just let them cool a bit then dig in and enjoy the crunch.
Think Twice Before Eating a Brightly Colored Grasshopper
One last thing: unless you are intimately familiar with various grasshopper species, constrain your hunting to varieties that are green, brown, or tan.
Avoid ones that are yellow, orange, or have loud and conspicuous patterns on their bodies.
In nature, this is invariably a warning to predators (including you) that the critter in question is toxic, tastes bad, or is otherwise bad for eating.
You don’t want to get sick from eating a toxic grasshopper in the middle of a survival situation.
That being said, mimicry is a thing, and it is possible that a brightly colored and garish grasshopper is not, in fact, toxic but is only trying to bluff that it is.
Again, the only way you’ll know is by either taking a chance or getting real familiar with grasshopper species.