Edible Insects = Sow bug, Roly Poly, Pill bug

By | April 30, 2016

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Sow Bugs Frying - Edible Insects

Yes, I finally did it…. I tested out whether Sow Bugs were really edible.  Let’s just say I was disappointed.  I had read they tasted like shrimp since they are a “land crustacean”.  Hmmmm… I love shrimp!  Let’s just say I won’t be giving up the water crustaceans any time soon.

The correct term per Wikipedia is ” Wood Louse”, but I grew up calling them Roly Polies or pill bugs.  When researching edible insects last year I found out that there are actually many different types and the vast majority of the type at my ranch are sow bugs.  They grow larger and do not roll up.  One of the warnings I read was that if they were the type that smelled bad, they tasted bad.  So yes I have been going around sniffing sow bugs!  Ugh!

Lately when turning over objects like water tubs for cleaning, I have been collecting the larger sow bugs.  I was really hopeful they would taste like shrimp.  I am not giving up yet.  Below you will read what I think I did wrong.

Here are the Sow Bugs in a large white bowl with a dime placed in there for a size comparison.

Sow bugs with dime

As you can see, even though I thought I was being careful to keep them clean, some dirt still made it into the bowl.  So I gave them a good washing and used a strainer to put them in a new container.

Sow bugs being cleaned and strained

I then boiled them in water to kill and sterilize them.

Boiling sow bugs

Then it was into the frying pan…..literally, LOL.

Frying sow bugs

Here is where I will do things differently next time.  I regret not trying the sow bugs after boiling them but before frying them.  I would like to know if there is a taste change because after frying with a little olive oil, all they tasted like was olive oil.  I would have preferred to saute them in butter but alas no refrigerator so no butter.  Next time I will plan ahead and get some butter from town or borrow a bit from a friend.  Might try coconut oil in the future also.  I purposely didn’t use any salt or seasoning because I wanted just the sow bug taste.  Let’s hope butter and salt improve things in the future.

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Was it a complete waste of time?  No, but I do realize why they turn so many insects into protein powder.  I ate about half and will probably throw the rest into a salad where the taste will be hidden.  They would be fine to throw into a stew or soup if you were just trying to boost your protein levels.

I will post updates with other cooking methods in the future.  I sure hope it improves because I am bummed.  I was so looking forward to free land shrimp.

Anyone tried sow bugs before?  How did you prepare them?

Mealworms are next on my list if I can get my small breeding system working and producing more mealworms.  I heard they are like nutty snacks, but then again Sow Bugs were supposed to taste like shrimp, ugh.

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Author: WMH Cheryl

I am living off-off grid with horses, goats, chickens, meat rabbits, llamas, dogs and too many Feral cats. Learning things the hard way and hoping my mistakes may help you avoid them while we prep for the future with a goal of being self sufficient.

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