Cooking with Earthworms
Made up of 60-70% protein and almost zero fat, earthworms are a nutritious addition to human diets. Earthworms are entirely edible and very easy to use in recipes. They can be boiled and chopped for casseroles, a main protein source replacing chicken or beef. They can also be made into flour and used for baked goods!
Multiple universities and other organizations are sponsoring contests promoting cooking with insects and earthworms. Everyone involved has enjoyed some surprisingly delicious dishes.
As the earth’s food supply stretches to feed more and more people, the humble earthworm may soon join snails, crabs, clams and lobsters as creepy things we love to eat.
Earthworms should be purged before food preparation, much like snails. Transfer your worms to moistened corn meal for forty-eight hours to give them enough time to purge their systems. After that, the worms can be washed and frozen for later use or used right away. A half-pound of earthworms is equivalent about a cup.
Vigorously rinse worms under cold, running water to clean them. Use a fine colander or sieve for small worms. Remove any worms that aren’t wriggling. They are dead and it is best not to take your chances with them. The most popular methods of cooking worms are boiling and baking.
To boil earthworms, boil two pots of water. To remove any mucus and dirt on the worms, they will be boiled twice. Toss the live worms in the first pot of boiling water for 15 minutes. Transfer the worms into the second pot for another 15 minutes. If any mucus remains after the second boiling, boil them again. After a rinse and pat dry, your worms can be frozen for later use or used fresh right away.
Your earthworms can also be baked. To keep them from crawling off the baking sheet, begin by freezing and defrosting them. Preheat an oven to 200°F. Arrange the earthworms in a single layer on several sheets of paper toweling or newspaper. Place onto a baking sheet and pop them into the oven. Check after baking 30 minutes. Baking time may need to be adjusted depending on the size of your worms. Baking small worms for 30 minutes should result in very dry worms that can easily be ground into flour.
A dash of earthworm flour can enhance the protein content of just about any recipe. A tablespoon or two can be added to muffins, cakes, or breads. Chopped worms can even replace nuts or raisins. The possibilities are endless!