Sometimes you will see ants in your food or crawling around in the kitchen or even hear about people making a meal out of them or whatever reason your here to learn if its safe to eat ants. So lets get to it.
You can eat ants. Make sure that they are dead first or there’s a good chance that you could get bit. Try to avoid ants that have a lot of venom, like the fire ant. Unless you have plans on cooking them, avoid them all together.
With that out of the way lets talk about the taste and the nutritional value of the ant.
What Do Ants Taste Like
If you can get passed the idea of eating an ant you will want to know what it tastes like. It depends on what kind of ant your eating.
Most ants, if eaten raw will have a sour/tangy taste to them. This is because of the formic acid found in ants. If you want to get rid of that taste try roasting or boiling it. That will get rid of the acid taste.
The larvae however, are a bit more fattier and will have a nuttier type taste.
Its highly recommend to cook the ants before eating them because, it makes it safer to eat and it will kill off any parasites and bacteria that can be harmful to humans.
First thing to keep in mind, ants are very small. And its going to take around 400 ants to make a gram. With that said, with 100 grams on ant, expect to have 14 grams of protein and 6 mg of iron, plus other important nutrients like fiber, calcium and fat.
So, if your planning on eating ants just for the nutrition, your going to become an expert ant catcher by the time your done to make it worth while.
Can You Get Sick From Eating Ants
For the most part yes, unless you suffer from certain allergies such as shellfish, shrimp, dust, or chocolate.
And if you suffer from one of those allergies and if your in a situation where your forced to eat ants make sure that they are cooked first. Ants will cause severe allergic reaction.
You should also pass on ants that are dead, unless your the one that killed them. Because you have no idea how they died and that could be dangerous.
Ants You Should Avoid Eating
As much as above, you should try to avoid eating ants with a lot of venom and there are three types of ants that are known to have a lot of venom. They are,
- Fire ants
- Bulldog ants
- Bullet ants
Also avoid eating ants with a strong smell because, more than likely, they are poisonous and if they aren’t poisonous they are going to taste horrible. If you are forced to eat these kind of ants MAKE SURE you cook them, bottom line.
Also keep in mind its safer to eat ants from the woods or the wild than the ants from your backyard because “urban” ants could be subjected to pesticides or poisons that will make it unsafe to eat, even if they are cooked.
So in closing, if your going to eat ants, the best practice would be to cook them first and avoid the ones that have a foul smell or highly venomous ants. Also you can eat ant larva and get more value from that than the ants themselves.
For more info on eating ants, I’m leaving a couple links you can check out.
Is it safe to eat ants?
Eating ants could protect against cancer, study finds