Jiminy Cricket! Meet the student bug-munchers

They’re animals.

Two Durham students are trying to help the environment by launching a scheme encouraging people to eat bugs – including grasshopper kebabs.

St Mary’s boys Sam Shuttleworth and Finlay Milner, both 19, want more people to munch insects and have produced a set of recipes to make them sound more appetising.

Their meals include grasshopper kebabs, chocolate-covered crickets and banana, walnut and mealworm cake. – like something out of I’m A Celeb.

Sam and Finlay say scoffing spiders and munching mites is good for health and the planet – and have already taken samples to local schools.

The engineering students say insects need little land to be “farmed”, can thrive in tight cages, require little feeding and produce low greenhouses gases.

They also say bugs are high in protein and vitamins – and everyone should eat them to be green and healthy.

Sam, originally from Lincoln, said: “We were thinking about an environment project to do and I thought ‘my dad always said eating insects would save the world’.

“A lot of people are surprised by how nice they taste. People often scrunch up their faces at the prospect, but then find they like it.”

Entomophagy, the consumption of insects as food, may be frowned upon in the West but is common in parts of South and Central America, Africa, Asia and Australasia.

Finlay, originally from South End, Essex, said: “We were both reading up on articles on the environment and stumbled across a particularly interesting UN one.

“We thought this would be a really interesting project – that was the main draw.

“I had tried some different food while I was on holiday but I had never had experience with bugs before.

“You are a bit hesitant to begin with but they are so tasty that it gets better.”

Despite having mixed results from friends and family, the duo are hoping their bright idea can help change the world.

They have already tried out the recipes on year seven school children at Joseph Swan Academy in Gateshead, with the children loving the new menu.

They have now entered their Student Grub competition into Npower’s Future Leaders enterprise competition, which offers a rainforest trip to the winning entry, which will be announced in December.

To make the perfect chocolate-covered cricket, roast the insects for 20 minutes, cover in melted cooking chocolate and refrigerate.

For banana, walnut and mealworm cake, mix mashed banana, walnuts, mealworms, caster sugar, flour, baking powder and eggs and bake for 40 minutes.

Finally, for grasshopper kebabs, marinate the grasshoppers in lemon juice, basil, pepper, Dijon mustard and honey and skewer along with roasted pepper and onion.

The insects are bought to order online, having been “farmed” in insecticide-free conditions.