I’ve become a fan of cockroaches recently. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that cockroaches are now my favorite edible insect. Why’s that? Well, it’s very simple:

Cockroaches exist simultaneously at two opposing extremes, which make them – in my opinion – the insect with the greatest potential for marketability.

I probably shouldn’t tell the world this, but knowledge is easy to come by, executing on it is hard. So if you take this info and run with it, kudos to you.

Here’s what I mean about cockroaches:

  • They’re the most reviled insect on the planet, by far – people despise them and fear them
  • They’re one of the most nutritious and beneficial insects on the planet that we know of

Being at the far end of the extreme in both cases gives them huge potential. That, I’m not going to explain. If you get it, use it (or get in touch and let’s do something with cockroaches together!).

Regardless, let me just tell you my other reasons for loving these misunderstood little bugs.

cockroach-yellow-black http://orionmystery.blogspot.com

Beautiful black and yellow cockroach – http://orionmystery.blogspot.com

There are around 4,500 different types of cockroach, but of those only about 30 live in ‘human’ areas, and of those, only 4 are known to be pests!

Cockroaches come in all sizes and colors, many of them are incredibly beautiful insects. But they’re decidedly roaches.

They’re also very sustainable to farm, requiring very little in the way of feed or water to grow. However, when they are nourished, they multiply very rapidly, and thrive in high-density situations.

They like it dark, so there’s no need to light the place, saving on energy use. But, temperature control will be needed to maintain the ideal climate and for ventilation, as a few hundred million cockroaches in an enclosed space is likely to produce quite a bit of heat.

But what’s really cool about cockroaches, is their nutritional content. Roaches have a higher percentage of protein than the famous cricket (around 35% as compared to 21%), and are lower in chitin.

They also contain a similar vitamin and mineral makeup, but a study was presented in 2018 which showed roaches to have nearly 7x the amount of vitamin B12 as a similar amount of beef, and double that of crickets!

And of course there’s the well-known cockroach milk, which is actually a thing. One species of cockroach (that we know about) produces ‘milk’ crystals for its young to feed on, similar – but in a roach way – to nursing.

These crystals are packed with nutrients – they contain all the essential amino acids that we need for cell growth, along with beneficial lipids (fats) and and glucose. Cockroach milk, from a nutritional standpoint, puts all dairy milks and plant-based milks to shame!

Of course, it’s not yet so simple as just mass-producing these little bugs and milking them, as many news articles have pointed out. But the fact the potential exists within cockroaches for powerful nutrients, antioxidants, milk crystals, oils, protein and so much more, should be reason enough to embrace the bug and look deeper at their potential!

Entovegan Love #EatBugs - madagascar hissing cockroach undersideThe cockroach pictured here and at the top and bottom of this post is the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, and it’s actually quite popular around the world as a pet.

Unlike the Periplaneta americana, which you probably know as the most common type of ‘pest’ cockroach, the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach doesn’t run fast and is quite friendly with people.

Now, you might be thinking “Wait, why would you even say that! I don’t want to eat somebody’s pet“.

But I look at it similarly to how I view my aloe vera plants, which I deeply love and cherish and take painstaking care of.

The cockroach is an insect, and through handling them and learning more about their makeup and life cycle, I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for them as a living thing. However, it’s still an (edible) insect, and thus it’s still nutritious food.

In the same way that I appreciate the beauty of my aloe plants, and also cut a leaf when it’s time to harvest, I love and value the cockroaches while simultaneously being grateful for the nutrition that they provide me when I eat them in various forms.

And they can be eaten in many different ways! They’re great fried in garlic and coconut oil, or dried and ground up into powder, or even caramelized. Like many insects, they have a flavor which works paired with sweet or savory foods, and they’re also delicious on their own.

Cockroaches are a larger insect as well, so they tend to be meatier inside, with a nice crunchy exoskeleton. Make sure to always cook them before eating, however, and never eat them live (they have a toxin which can numb the mouth and throat and cause choking). You should never eat insects live anyway, but since that’s still a ‘thing’ with some reality shows, it needs to especially be said with these insects.

There’s still so much to learn about cockroaches, but what we do know about them puts them into the upper echelon of edible bugs both in terms of nutrition and taste, and they’re quite easy to farm sustainably as well.

So put aside those fears you’ve had of roaches, and open your mind to appreciate their beauty and benefits…and then enjoy a new culinary delicacy! Cockroaches have been erroneously maligned for far too long – they may actually be a vital key to saving the planet.

Love your planet.
Love your body.
Love your food.

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Entovegan Love #EatBugs - Raquel Cortman and Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Model: Raquel Cortman
Insect: Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
Photographer: Josh Galt
Location: Mexico

If you like these images, feel free to share and use them! All I ask is that you don’t edit or manipulate the pictures or text in any way. If you’d like to tag me, I’m @entovegan across instagram / facebook / twitter. Large size prints are also available on request.

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