Wondering If you Can Eat Worms? Are Worms Even Safe to eat and what do they taste like?
In this guide you will learn:
- Can you Eat worms and Which worms are safe to eat,
- What do different Worms taste like & What happens if you eat a Worm,
- Worm Nutrition and Health Benefits,
- How to Prepare Worms for Eating and even a few Recipes!
Yes, you can eat worms and They are edible but only a few worm species should be consumed.
This is due to some worms carrying major diseases, and bacteria within their bodies.
You should try to only eat Worms that are Farm-raised especially for eating and are known to be fed pest-Free food that can prevent them from carrying parasites within them.
A research was conducted recently and the final result was estimated that over 2 billion people have consumed different insects and worms.
Asia, Africa and South America are the main places where worms and insects are consumed.
There are 3 main types of worms that are Safe to Eat and are consumed regularly:
Mealworms were one of the first insects used for human consumption.
They are about 3 inches and range from white to yellow, but mostly yellow.
They are not technically worms, but larvae of the Darkling Beetle. They are known for being a grain pest, they are found within grain towers devouring a farmer’s hard work.
2. Sago Worms
Sago worms, also known as coconut worms, are a known delicacy. They range between white and yellow, depending on how chunky the grub is, and can be highly nutritious in protein.
Although the Sago Worm is not actually a worm, it is a larva of Sago Palm Weevil, a specific species of the snout beetle, which is also eaten as well.
Earthworms are the only actual worms in this list. On average they can grow up to 7 inches, but some have been known to reach 20 feet.
They are a pale-almost pink, slimy, soil-eating segmented worm that can provide lots of nutrition when eating them.
Mealworms are said to have originated in the Mediterranean regions. They are now found in numerous places within the world due to human colonization, as well as trading.
Within nature, they choose to stay close to food, so finding them under rocks, fallen trees, animal dens, and even grain towers is common.
Mealworms can be purchased online as well, but be sure to get mealworms that are suitable for human consumption, avoid getting pet food.
How to Catch Mealworms to eat
When in search of mealworms, consider beginning with looking for the darkling beetle. These beetles are the final stage, as mealworms are the first.
They will be easier to find as they are about the length of a fingernail, but half of the width, and they are entirely black.
What do Mealworms taste like
- They are said to taste a bit starchy, close to a raw, soft potato,
- Within their bodies lay an exoskeleton that gives a sort of crunch at the beginning,
- Mealworms have a super mild flavor, that leans more to a bland taste,
- When mealworms are roasted, it is said they mimic peanuts with their nutty flavor, as well as roasted pumpkin seeds,
- When they are pan-fried, they resemble bacon flavoring and texture,
- The action of boiling doesn’t add any flavor, it leaves the mealworm soft and bland,
How to Prepare Mealworms to Cook and Eat
With mealworms having very little taste , they make great protein additions within meals.
The real win is properly preparing mealworms to go in a meal and incorporate numerous flavors within the mealworm. They are normally roasted or pan-fried, but they can be grilled, boiled, dehydrated, and even dipped in chocolate!
A few tips when cooking:
- Feed your mealworms different items, such as apple, parsley, carrots, and many more. Your mealworm will taste like what you feed it.
- To humanely kill them, place them in the freezer for 24 hours to ensure their bodies have shut down to the point of no return. They can stay within the fridge for up to 8 weeks.
Can you eat Mealworms Raw?
You can eat mealworms live, but it is advised only if you know exactly what it is being fed.
Catching mealworms in the wild and consuming them raw can leave you riddled with parasites as mealworms eat anything and everything.
Nutritional value of mealworms
Compared to the common meats, such as beef, it is a worthy opponent. For every 100 grams, raw larva and beef both contain a range of 14-26 protein. As well as containing mostly the same mineral values such as zinc, sodium, copper, potassium, selenium, and even iron. It is said mealworms even have a higher vitamin range.
Where are Mealworms eaten within the world and why?
Consuming mealworms has been a common activity for hundreds of years in Southeast Asia, South America, and even Africa.
Street markets within Vietnam, Thailand, and even China pushed bug consumption.
Many people eat mealworms simply for the health alternative it provides.
As well as competing close to beef, with way less effects on the greenhouse gases produced by cattle.
Are there any Dangers of Eating Mealworms?
- When eating mealworms raw, you can get very sick due to mealworms eating anything and can carry multiple diseases.
- When cooked properly, they are perfectly safe. Even the European Food Safety Association (EFSA) has deemed mealworms as another suitable food source.
Feeding Mealworms to Pets
It is common for bird and reptile owners to feed their pets dried mealworms to provide more nutrition.
Mealworms can be used as a great snack for cats, dogs, or other omnivore pets.
Feed only as a snack about 2x daily as overdoing it can make pets sick.
It is studied that earthworms originated in Europe and are now known worldwide, especially within North America and Asia.
They reside within moist, cool soil that can provide grubs all throughout the day and night.
How to Catch Earthworms to eat
With earthworms being attracted to moist soil, it is common to see them come upon the surface when raining.
When this happens, you can capture them and keep them in suitable habitat, allowing you to use and eat them whenever.
What do earthworms taste like?
- They are said to taste like dirt, which makes sense as earthworms consume dirt,
- Outside of their body is typically slimy due to the mucus that builds up to help them glide through the soil,
- When earthworms are cooked such as fried, they resemble fried bacon,
- They are commonly used in chocolate dipping, usually deep-fried first then dried, then dipped with chocolate. This will give a savory and sweet flavor when you eat the earthworm.
- Just like most, when earthworms are boiled they retain their bland flavors,
How to Prepare Earthworms to Cook and Eat
When preparing earth worms for eating it is best to be sure they are fully cooked to remove any parasites that reside in the soil they eat.
Earthworms can be grilled to be eaten, made as kabob, and even smoked.
Here are a few tips for cooking earthworms:
- When prepping the earthworms before eating, always be sure to wash them off and dry them, this will help remove the slimy mucus.
- Like before, when going to cook, allow time for earthworms to freeze. This will be about 24 hours, this will ensure they are dead.
- When pan-frying, avoid popping the earthworm by starting at a lower heat and consistently rotating.
Can you eat Earthworms Raw?
No, you should not eat earthworms raw, this is due to them consuming the earth’s soil.
The soil can contain numerous parasites that can prove deadly. Stick to earthworms that are raised for eating, these would be fed a pest-free diet and will be cared for regularly.
Nutritional value of Earthworms
Earthworms contain various nutrients, they are known as a superfood in a lot of areas around the world.
This is due to earthworms holding a moderately large size of calcium. As well as high levels of protein, iron, various amino acids, copper, and even zinc.
Where are Earthworms eaten within the world and why?
It is said in Southern Venezuela they gather around collecting earthworms from muddy streams and moist forest beds.
They use earthworms as one of their main sources of food, as well as making numerous medicines from them due to the vitamins Earthworms contain.
Earthworms have made their way to many places, including some American exotic restaurants.
Are there any Dangers of Eating Earthworms?
- Earthworms are known to consume animal droppings and raw soil with anything and everything in it so avoid eating them raw. This could result in a deadly ending.
- When cooked, they are perfectly safe! They should be cooked properly at a temperature above 160 degrees, like all worms.
Feeding Earthworms to Pets
When Earthworms are eaten raw, earthworms can hold many parasites such as roundworms. When feeding your pets earthworms be sure they come from a safe place where you know what they are being fed.
If cooking, they can be a great snack for your pet– if you can get them to eat it. Due to their earthy smell, some pets will avoid eating earthworms.
Finding Sago worms can be easy if you know where to look. They originated within tropical Asia and made their way from Europe to Spain.
When hunting for Sago worms, it’s best to look within Sago Palm trees. Larvae live within the trees, feeding on the pith located near the trunk of a tree; it will have a spongy texture inside of the tree.
They can also be purchased online, but be sure they are from reputable vendors.
How to Catch Sago Worms to Eat
Some farmers have been known to go in search of fallen down sago trees and provide openings within the tree using a knife.
This will allow a female to lay up to 100 eggs in 1 tree, which could produce more worms as they are a delicacy and can cost upwards of $.25 cents per larvae.
What do Sago Worms taste like
- Sago worms taste akin to coconut milk with little sweetness, overall bland
- Their skin is very tough and chewy. Also, they are very juicy upon eating,
- Sago worms are creamy tasting due to fatty, rich “guts”
- When grilled and eaten, it has been said they mimic meat, such as chicken or pork,
- When boiled, the worms have been known to still have juicy, creamy insides,
- When dehydrated, they have been said they mimic beef jerky texture and taste.
How to Prepare Sago Worms to Cook and Eat
With Sago worms being a very popular food source, there are now so many ways to cook and eat them.
You can boil, roast, dehydrate, grill, and even pan-fry! Cooking these larvae is quite easy, and most people prefer them cooked rather than consuming raw.
A few tips when cooking:
- Keep Sago worms out of the sun, as they can die kind of quick in direct sunlight,
- Providing a damp, shady habitat will help your worms stay alive for a few days, using techniques such as placing moist sago wood within the habitat will keep them alive,
- Use a knife to slice an opening on the worm to allow the sago worm to cook in its own fat,
- Remove the head before eating live and cooked, as they have sharp pincers that help them eat the sago wood,
Can you eat Sago Worms Raw?
Yes, you can consume sago worms live and raw, many people do eat sago worms raw and prefer them not cooked.
When eating them raw, it is best to always remove the head, usually by squeezing it at the neck and tearing it.
This will ensure it cannot bite you as you consume it.
Nutritional value of Sago Worms
It has been researched for years by Oxford University that Sago worms have numerous vitamins and minerals, they even have the complete group of nine essential amino acids, from tryptophan to phenylalanine.
One sago worm can contain almost 6 grams of protein, which is close to the protein content in one egg.
When put side by side, it is said that sago worms have significantly less cholesterol than common meats, such as chicken, beef, and even pork.
They can be classified as healthier than these common meats.
In a controlled clinical trial held in Indonesia, it was studied how sago worm consumption affects children 1-5 years old.
It is said when children were given controlled sago worms in proportions and that their height, weight, or any features were not changed.
That only their nutrients were well maintained as if they were eating common meats.
Where are Sago Worms eaten within the world and why?
Sago worms are eaten in numerous places within the world. They are a known staple in most family households such as in Sabah, a Malaysian state, where there is a huge market for sago worms.
It is highly sought after as it is very nutritious and serves as an income for some residents.
The people of Malaysia, Indonesia, and even parts of New Guinea consume sago grub as a major food source. They have been consuming them for a while, and incorporate them into their lives fully.
Are there any Dangers of Eating Sago Worms
- Eating sago worms raw, or alive can allow the larvae to bite you with their pinchers they use to eat through sago wood. Be sure to remove the head if eating raw.
- Sago worms are one of the safe insects to consume raw due to them solely living, eating, drinking, and being surrounded by the sago palm. They rarely interact with other bugs, soil, or affected waters.
Feeding Sago Worms to Pets
Although the tree, sago palm, and worms that reside there are very toxic to pets, the actual bug is a great choice for them to eat when they are properly cooked. You also want to be sure you purchase the sago worms from a reputable safe vendor.
When feeding larger animals such as dogs, cats, or even birds it is best to cut larvae in half.
When feeding reptiles, cutting the sago worm in thirds is best.
Recipes & Different Cooking Methods of Worms
When cooking sago worms to eat, there aren’t many recipes on the internet, except this one, but don’t fret! Sago worm tastes like nothing, and is normally used as a nutritious addition.
- Sago worms can be seasoned, fried till they are crispy and put into tacos.
- Can be crushed and turned into a powder. You can mix in other ingredients to make a healthy seasonings mixture.
- Shish kabob them and grill them! You can use sauces such as garlic butter, or even soy sauce to glaze them.
It is known that mealworms have been incorporated within many recipes for numerous years. Some include fried rice and even chocolate chip cookies. With them having a nutty flavor, they can bring just what you need in a dish!
- Mealworms can be roasted to release natural oils, and then mixed to create a sense of healthier peanut butter, with a stronger taste.
- Boiling mealworms is also very common, they can be used in preparing broths, sauces, and sometimes just boiled.
- Pan-frying mealworms is the most common way to eat them, this results in a warm, crunchy snack.
With earthworms having an earthy taste, they work great in heavily savory recipes. They can be used essentially in any dish if incorporated right, even in peanut chocolate cookies.
- Earthworms can be pan-fried and dipped in chocolate to provide a crazy sweet sensation when eating them.
- Grilling earthworms over a fire, kinda like hotdogs, is also a very common practice. With skewering the earthworms on a stick, it will roast nicely.
- Earthworms can be cut open, flattened, and then dehydrated. This results in an earthy ‘chip’ that is super healthy.