Cricket cookies, cakes attract hundreds at Nairobi ASK show
Critters contain higher protein than omena. They thrive in dry areas and can improve food security, PhD student says
Have you tasted a cookie or muffin made from crickets? If not, you need to make your way to the Nairobi ASK Show and taste these and other sweet, crispy delicacies made from crickets.
Caroline Kipkoech from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology said crickets are edible and contain higher proteins than omena. They can reduce malnutrition, too. The insects can thrive in different environments, even in the dry areas like Mandera.
They can improve food security, Kipkoech said. They can also be raised in Ukambani where people can’t get a lot of chicken due to water scarcity and the dry climate, she said.
“Crickets have been there in the wild making noise to us every night, but they are usually not so many. So we want to raise them because of the protein. They have around 75 per cent protein, which is very high, and we can tap this high nutrition and mineral content,” she said.
If you have a phobia about crickets, no worries, you can buy cricket flour and bake cookies, muffins, biscuits, cakes and other treats.
Or you can coat the crickets in flour and deep-fry the crispy critters.
Kipkoech, a PhD student researching nutrition and food security, said they are making animal feed from crickets to supplement scarce omena.
“We cannot get enough omena from Lake Victoria due to water hya- cinth, pollution and competition from man for food. Our feed industry is not getting enough proteins from omena and we want an alternative good protein,” she added.
The university farms crickets in a standardised way to avoid microbial contamination.
“We harvest and solar dry them. We grind with a mill to get flour, which we can use any way we like,” Kipkoech said.
“They also use very little space. In Kenya the population is increasing, so we need to look for solutions using the small land we have. Crickets can multiply in a very short span of three months and you have your proteins. You can also rear them using organic waste. You can actually use what you would have wasted to produce proteins,” she said.
Muffins made from wheat flour, cricket meal and sugar. Crickets can be used to make human and animal food