Locust: A Delectable Invader




An Introduction to the Locusts:

The locust is an insect belonging from the family Acrididae from the order Orthoptera. It resembles a grasshopper but has a bigger appetite and appears to look stronger. Known for their massive swarms, these insects are a force to be reckoned with.

 

File:Garden locust (Acanthacris ruficornis).jpg
A Garden Locust. (Charles J. Sharp creator QS:P170,Q54800218, Garden locust (Acanthacris ruficornis), CC BY-SA 4.0).

Places where you can spot Locusts:

Locusts cannot be narrowed down to one habitat alone as they live in various diverse environments. The best way to find locusts is to go to somewhere where they are swarming at. Perhaps fields where they have begun feasting will suffice.

Physical Appearance:

Locusts may vary in color from a greenish hue to a more darker rusty yellowish hue. They change from green to rusty yellow when they intend to form swarms. It appears similar to a grasshopper but may look more stocky and bigger in general.

Distribution and importance:

Locusts are widespread in various regions such as Asia, The Middle East and Africa.

They have been known to fly over massive distances and destroy massive amounts of vegetation across the world in one fell swoop. They are also known to breed quite exponentially too.

Their interaction with mankind has been documented over many books across history. Be it something of spiritual significance or some scribe recording a worthwhile event in the pages of history. Locusts have made their mark in mankind’s minds and captivated millions for centuries on end.

One of the most profound locust attacks in history was recorded last year in 2020. They locusts caused damage worth around 2 million tonnes of wheat and other crops. A National Locust Control Centre was setup just because of this to keep the locust in check just in-case they intend to come back for seconds.

There’s so much that comes to mind when you think of locusts that you can’t even begin to quantify it sufficiently in a collection of words. They are pests for some, culinary delights for others. Depends on what part of the world you fall in and whether they decide to munch on your crops too.

The role of Locusts in Cooking:

Locusts have quite an important culinary role the world over. They are considered one of the most common types of edible insects around. Be it the Middle East, parts of Asia and even Africa; locusts are eaten more often than you might think.

Some cultures have been known to consider it a delicacy. Given that locusts do contain more protein than most other sources they are quite a healthy meal choice.

Other nutritious substances are also found within a locust. These may include potassium, calcium iron and even zinc.

You can roast them, skewer and grill them or even stir-fry them; it’s your choice. The possibilities are endless.

During preparation remember to remove the smaller legs and wings. The bigger legs are considered palatable by some.

The seasoning is key when it comes to making a good batch of locusts with some boiling them in stock. A few spices may also be added in to give it kick.

You may also fry them after covering them in a batter like you do so with shrimp.

You may also remove their heads via twisting them off to remove any other waste present in the locust.

The Medicinal Uses of Locusts:

Locusts have not shown any signs of medical significance as of yet, however things may change in the coming years. Some researchers speculate that locust may be effective against combating certain diseases.

Health and Safety:

There may have been no health hazards observed when consuming a locust. However one must take the following measures to be safe while consuming one in general:

Make sure the locust is cooked through (you may see them redden up when they do start getting cooked). This is to avoid any parasites that may been inside the locust.

Preferably remove inedible parts like wings and also try to avoid consuming the pointy bits in-case they hold the potential to harm your mouth or throat.



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