Caterpillar: Pest or Saint Patrick’s Day Dinner?

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone!
We have a special entry in the depression buster contest “Pest or Dinner?” We are looking for foods high in depression-fighting nutrients that also may be considered pests. Entries must be edible or at least digestible. They also must be pests or pesky in some way.
Husbands do not count. Someone has already attempted to enter her husband. And while nearly nothing is sacred on this blog with a dead steer hanging from a truck in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and some poor souls finding this blog via a search for “halibut in white sauce” and probably not finding what they expect, I draw the line at cannibalism. No husbands, wives, or mother-in-laws.
St Patty’s Day Entry
My very own mother submits the caterpillar in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day. Her primary rationale is that some caterpillars are green. She writes:

Dear Mandy,
I nominate the caterpillar for the contest “Pest or Dinner.” I have held back my nomination because I thought it would be a perfect dinner for St. Patrick’s Day. So while you were taking Frederick to preschool, I collected caterpillars from the garden, flash boiled them, and then fried them in a tempura batter. I ate them with scalloped potatoes and green beans as you can see in the picture below.
Most insects have a high nutrient content. My guess is that caterpillar is full of depression-fighting nutrients. And some of them are actually green and make a good St Patty’s Day meal. Cook them with scalloped potatoes to feel a little more Irish.
So do I win a book?

Dear Mom,
You have read the book about four times. Surely you would rather read just about anything else. But since you are my mother, I will see to it that you receive a courtesy copy.
Nice picture, by the way. Are those french fries to the right? I didn’t think so.

Pests and Dinner
Any gardener knows that caterpillars are pests when they take over the garden. Anyone who has spent time in China knows that they are also dinner. Fried caterpillar is a common appetizer in China.
To be honest, they would likely qualify as a depression-buster food. A full nutrient profile of the caterpillar is not available as far as I know, but an Ohio State website lists the iron content of caterpillar (100 grams) as nearly two times the recommended daily allowance of iron for younger (premenopausal) women. Caterpillars are an iron superfood. I must report this to the readers of the Rebuild Your Iron e-book.

Thanks, Mom, for the entry on this holiday. Green caterpillars and a whole lot of green beer may become the next new fad in Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations.

3 Responses to Caterpillar: Pest or Saint Patrick’s Day Dinner?
  1. Did your mom really collect that many caterpillars, AND eat them? We’ve been watching Bizarre Foods on TV and I’ve been thinking that I could *possibly* eat some insects that I had thought I could never eat (well, I eat snails and a bunch of other “gross” stuff, but not caterpillars or crickets).
    Hmmmm, if your mother really ate those, I’ll have to send this post to a homeschooling group to which I belong, where there’s been some discussion of this kind of thing over the years. :D

  2. Hi Barb!
    The picture looks doctored to me. :) But we had the author of “Eat A Bug” contribute a recipe and make a nomination (which I have yet to post). I’ve also got a second nomination I am preparing that includes a story of insect-eating. So, yes, it does happen.

  3. Food Science Oldies but Goodies from Rebuild (with graphs!)

    I was strolling through some of the old content on this blog and discovered that I have apparently blogged about a good number of food science tidbits. The book Rebuild from Depression (coming this summer, really) has several chapters…

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