IT’s designed to help in the preparation of some very unusual ingredients – and now a city students is hoping her invention could be the “must have” kitchen gadget of the future.
Courtney Yule has designed a cookery kit to encourage people to eat insects as part of their daily diet.
Beetles, caterpillars and grasshoppers are already a staple in many parts of the world – but despite them being low in fat and calories and containing as much protein as beef, many in the Western world are repulsed by the idea of swallowing insects.
Courtney, who is in the final year of a product design course at Edinburgh Napier University, was inspired by studies identifying entomophagy – the practice of eating insects – as the best way to feed the growing global population.
Harvesting insects is also seen as more environmentally-friendly than traditional livestock farming which requires land, crops for feed, and
animals and machinery which produce greenhouse gases.
Courtney’s “Entopod”, which mimics the shape of an insect, promotes the idea of insects as a sustainable food source while also trying to dispel the “yuck factor” which inhibits people from tasting them.
The device – one of hundreds of exhibits created by students to be showcased at Edinburgh Napier’s 2015 Degree Show from May 22 – provides everything needed to create a range of insect-based recipes in one portable product.
Courtney, 22, said: “The main barrier is obviously getting consumers to accept the idea of eating insects. Before I began this work I didn’t even like to touch them, but I don’t have any problem with eating them now and it is a practice which is growing in popularity.
“People think nothing about eating prawns and shrimps but they have a different reaction to grasshoppers and crickets. However, the more you read about the health benefits, the less bothered you become.
People think nothing about eating prawns and shrimps but they have a different reaction to grasshoppers and crickets.”Courtney Yule
“You can do anything with insects; sweet and sour grasshopper, mealworm macaroni, lime and ginger locusts or cricket cookies.”
Courtney carried out research which found most people would consider eating insects. And while many did find the look off-putting, the taste and texture of the initial bite often came as a pleasant surprise, and she decided there would be interest in a “starter kit” which allowed people to experiment.
The plastic Entopod includes a grinder to create insect flour to bake into recipes or add to shakes, and detachable containers to heat food in the oven, microwave or on the hob. Insect fondue is also a possibility with the addition of a candle and the reverse ends of the eating utensils used as skewers. Insect snacks can also be stored in the detachable containers, perfect for a lunch on the go.
Courtney, from Berwick-upon-Tweed, added: “A lot of people are now supplying dried insects but in the course of my research I have not seen any other products which help in preparing them to eat. I am now at the stage of tweaking design components, and although the prototype is white I am also working on bright neon and anodised colours resembling the natural colouring of
More than 300 people will exhibit at the Degree Show in the university’s Merchiston campus, which is open to the public from May 22-31.
Blueberry Mealworm Muffins
Muffins are a great way to experiment with entomophagy as insects can be used in both sweet and savoury recipes either as a whole, or ground into powder and baked in the oven.
1.5 measuring cups of plain flour
1.5 measuring cups of butter
Half a measuring cup of caster sugar
2 free-range eggs
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 measuring cups of blueberries, or equivalent in frozen blueberries
1 measuring cup of mealworms
Cream the butter and sugar together then slowly add the eggs, and mix for three minutes. Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and mealworms. Stir to combine, then refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Place a spoonful of muffin mixture into each muffin case, filling each to just over halfway. Stud each muffin with about eight blueberries and sprinkle with a handful of mealworms. Bake in an oven set at 200C/400F/Gas 6 for 20 minutes, or until golden on top. Serve with cream.
Waterbug Bean Salad
This recipe experiments with a bug for the more adventurous of budding entomophagists. The giant waterbug is a delicacy in countries such as China, and with a side of bean salad it may become one of your favourites.
1 tbsp sundried tomato paste
1 tsp white wine vinegar
2 measuring cups of cannellini beans, rinsed
1.5 measuring cups of small vine tomatoes, quartered (about 12 in total)
2 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
Pour cannellini beans, sliced spring onions and tomatoes into a serving dish. Add the tomato paste and wine vinegar into the mix and stir everything together. Boil the waterbugs for one minute unless they are already freeze dried. Serve and enjoy, or store in a container for later.
This simple recipe is an easy way to experiment with and introduce people to entomophagy. Crickets, also known as “the gateway bug” are the main insects people are willing to try initially, and this recipe leaves lots of room for personal experimentation.
Half a measuring cup of crickets
Half a measuring cup of red onion chunks
Half a measuring cup of chunks of peppers
Thread peppers, red onions and crickets on to the skewer end of the utensils. Toast over a flame or dip kebabs in chosen sauce placed in fondue set.