Butternut squash soup. Purple cabbage. Fried pepitas. Salted dried bee larvae.
A simple and filling staff lunch. We have been experimenting with the gastronomic potential of insects and bee larvae have caught our eye. They are creamy, with a soft fatty texture when fresh and a complex flavour of eggs, raw nuts, and raw honey (after all, that’s all they’ve ever eaten). In beekeeping, some of the immature brood is removed early in the season, between May and July, to regulate hive health and create a surplus of harvestable honey later on in the fall. So these larvae are seen as a waste- or by-product, thrown away or, if on a farm, fed to the chickens. This is crazy because they are intensely nutritious and hold a lot of potential for delicious applications in the kitchen. That’s where we come in – we’re trying to find ways to make these ingredients accepted and celebrated in the Western kitchen.
The results of experiments at the lab often find their way into staff lunch. We cook with what’s around, and the best way to fully understand how to apply our research is to cook with it and eat it together.
For these larvae, I simply stuck them in the dehydrator. They crisped up nicely, and with a bit of fine salt turned into some of the best salty beer snacks we know. As a garnish on soup? Sprinkled on a salad or toast? Thrown back by the handful? Many options, all delicious.