Insect Burgers: Coming to a Diner Near You
The hamburger is a classic American food item, popularized in the beginning of the 20th century. Of late, however, many restaurants and chefs have been creating different modifications of the burger, from veggie burgers made with beans and tofu to raw food burgers made with marinated portobello mushrooms. One recent modification that has been making the news is a burger coming from New York City. This burger substitutes protein-rich crickets for the usual meat.
Not Your Grandmother’s Burger
The use of crickets and other insects for food isn’t anything new. Chocolate-covered crickets have been a popular delicacy all across the world for a number of years, often showing up in America at fairs and specialty candy shops. Crickets have been seen as especially enticing for chefs and nutrition-savvy individuals, for they are incredibly versatile and also contain a wide range of nutritional compounds.
A cricket burger may not sound terribly appetizing to many individuals. The cricket burger being served in NYC is a relatively new concept drawing forth on classic insect-food ideas. Because they are an acquired taste, these burgers are served as sliders, accompanying a whole-wheat pita bun alongside popular condiments such as mustard, mayonnaise, and pickles. Topped with cheese and served along a side of fries, the crickets in these burgers are so well disguised that some connoisseurs claim they can’t tell the difference between a burger made with beef and one made with crickets. Although some tend to disagree with these claims, this new burger continues to grow in popularity.
The Nutritional Value of Insects
Crickets contain many valuable nutrients needed by the human body, despite their relatively small size. They offer all essential amino acids the body needs to function properly. These amino acids are the building blocks of protein and serve a variety of functions in metabolism, cell interactions, and skin health. Vitamin B12 is also available in crickets as well as in other insects commonly used for food. This vitamin is essential for the human body as it aids in the production of energy needed for everyday tasks.
Many proponents of insects as food claim that the environmental benefits far exceed the risks, especially in comparison to the damage done by traditional farming and agricultural practices. Organizations that support using insects for food continue to work toward receiving the necessary funding in order to implement strategies in different parts of the world that allow insect to be grown and harvested. This may have an enormous gross-out factor for many individuals, but it may not be long until a cricket burger begins showing up at many restaurants all across the country.