Cooking mealworms:Different diet,different flavor?

There are a lot of different delicious products offering seasoned mealworms available now… Mealworms spiced with curry, garlic & herbs, barbecue are all delicious… But what about changing their diet and see if the taste is different? We know that diet has an impact on the nutritional values but let’s give a try and see if there any difference if you feed mealworms with different diets.


Different diets for my mealworms and their effect

For this experience, I tried feeding my mealworms with 3 kinds of flours instead of wheat (from left to right) :

  • Buckwheat flour
  • Corn flour
  • Rye flour
mealworms edible insects entomophagy cooking

Click on the image if you wanna follow me on Instagram!

This photo from my Instagram account was taken during the beginning of the process.

Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Pupation

You can also admire my home-made little farm, but soon there will be possible to have a real automated kitchen hive for growing your mealworms!

I didn’t noticed any difference for the growth, all the mealworms seemed happy with their own respective diet. If you can’t wait for the automatic hive, here is a great blog for learning everything about mealworms, so you will be able to breed them like a boss : Edible Bug Farm.


First result : Different colors for my mealworms !

Here are the thawed mealworms after a great life of munching the different diets.

mealworms edible insects entomophagy cooking

Rye diet, corn diet, buckwheat diet.

As you can see, there are some differences in their colors. Honestly, I didn’t expect this. I know that the color of the insect can also vary regarding the breeding’s density, I tried to avoid this by farming the same quantities, but maybe I made a mistake.

I took the same weight of insects, 30 grams and see no slight differences regarding the volume or the numbers of insects. (Yeah, I counted them!).

All of this make me hungry, let’s cook them!


Cooking step of the mealworms

After rinsing them through a colander, I tossed them in a medium-hot pan with olive oil.

I cooked them until they become gold and crackling, about 6 minutes.

mealworms edible insects entomophagy cooking

What a nice smell and variations for the gold colors!

It’s now time to try them, I can’t wait any longer!


Different diets, different taste?

It’s now the final time, like would say my dear friend the Bug Chef : “Eat it, eat it, eat it!”

I add only salt & pepper during the cooking and eat them with alfalfa sprouts and a winter salad made with shredded carrots and cabbage, raisins, walnuts sprinkled with sauce composed of hazelnut oil, raspberry vinegar, honey, ginger and cinnamon.

mealworms edible insects entomophagy cooking

So finally, I found some little differences in the nutty aromas and flavors between the different preparations. If I needed to class them : Buckwheat, Corn and Rye. (That makes me think that you can surely farm mealworms in a Gluten Free way!) Needless to say, I loved my dish…

Honestly, this experience was great and deserve more depth tryings… I also have to admit that I don’t think that someone who never tried mealworms will notice a slight difference. But what about getting any further with other diets combining different fruits and vegetables and flours? This is another story…

Take care and see you soon.

Florian

Flo

Formerly I'm an environmental engineer, personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist and "Entotarian". In the edible insects industry for five years, I've been consultant for an insect farm in France, free-lance writer and international speaker. After developing the world's first table-top farm, I'm now in Paris with Jimini's where we are developing and selling delicious insects. I would say that my life revolves around eating insects.

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11 Responses

  1. Emma Mituda says:

    Hi,

    Have you tried rearing mealworms with grated carrots? I am trying to rear superworms with corn as substrate then feed them with grated carrots and Moringa oleifera leaves twice a day. I still have to submit samples for proximate analysis.

    Thanks.

    • Flo says:

      Hi Emma!

      I didn’t mentioned it but the mealworms were always fed with carrots 2-3 per week. According to the studies (and my experiences!), the moisture content make them grow faster! I didn’t try with your specie, I will love to hear more from you!

      • Emma Mituda says:

        Hi again,

        Superworms are larger than mealworms. I saw your set-up with few sliced carrots. For my set-up I mixed the grated carrots with corn substrate and indeed the newly hatched larvae grow faster as they all have chance to feed the grated carrots.

        • Lasse Hornbek says:

          Hi Emma.
          How often are you changing the substrate when you have grated carrots in it? I find that substrate close to carrot pieces I give my mealworms, rottens very fast.

          • Flo says:

            Hi Lasse,
            That’s exactly what I wanted to ask. I’m very curious about it because the moisture of grated carrots mixed with the substrate and the heat can be a real nest for molt…

          • Emma Mituda says:

            I changed the substrate once a week but reused them after drying. I always squeeze extra carrot juice and use it for drink so that the substrate wont be damp with excess moisture that could be lethal to the larvae. I noticed newly hatched larvae grow fast when they are fed with this kind of food.

  2. Emma Mituda says:

    I can send some pictures if you want so see them. Just send me your email address through my email.

    • Lasse Hornbek says:

      Hi Emma. Sorry for late reply, I would very much like to see pictures 🙂 I’m curious. A second question. If you squeeze and dry the grated carrots, are there enough moisture for the mealworms? or are you giving them another water source?

      • Lasse Hornbek says:

        I can for some reason not get to your email. will you send me the pictures to lassehornbek@gmail.com

        • Emma says:

          Hello Lasse. It took me many months to visit this website again. I have been busy preparing my proposal on superworms for funding and taking care of them. Yes, I will send you pictures. I hope you can share your great ideas which may help in my future research work. My email add is emcsab53@yahoo.com.sg

  3. Oldskool says:

    Wow, this is very cool, I feel foolish for being late reading it!

    I had head about “gut loading” insects the day before use as a means of adjusting flavor, but this is amazing! I do recall hearing, but never experienced, the idea of milks being altered in flavor by what the cows ate, but again, this is vastly more dynamic in it’s potential!

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