In the search for another appealing source of future food to cover the increasing need for nutrients of a growing global population, this study reviewed the potential of insects as human food. Most previous reviews have dealt with insects as a group, making it difficult to evaluate each individual insect species as food because of the generalized data. This study assessed some common edible insects, but concentrated on mealworms. Insects, especially mealworms, have a similar or higher nutritional value than many conventional food sources. For example, the protein content of mealworm larvae is reported to be almost 50% of dry weight, while the fat content is about 30% of larval dry weight. Mealworms can be cooked by different methods, such as hot air drying, oven broiling, roasting, pan frying, deep frying, boiling, steaming, and microwaving. Oven broiling in particular gives a desirable aroma of steamed corn for consumers. Changes in the flavor, taste, and texture of mealworm products during storage have not been studied, but must be determined before mealworms can be used as a commercial food source. Factors controlling the shelf-life of mealworms, such as their packaging and storage, should be identified and considered with respect to the feasibility of using mealworms on a commercial scale.
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