My kids love I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, and because they love it, I started watching it and loving it too. Apart from one bit, you probably can guess – the Bushtucker eating trials. If you’re not familiar, it’s where the celebrities have to eat a variety of jungle delicacies to earn food for their hungry camp members. The delicacies, such as they are, include live bugs and various unappealing parts of an animal’s anatomy (kangaroo’s testicles anyone? Thought not). It’s the part I usually gag at and have to leave the room.
However, not so for the kids. They sit wide-eyed egging the celebrities on, appalled but enthralled in equal measure. So, given the chance to try their very own bushtucker trial, it was no surprise they were up for it. And the chance came when we were sent samples of a new snack from France making its debut in the UK this weekend – Jimini’s edible insects.
Before we get onto the taste test, just a little background. Founded by life-long friends and entrepreneurs Bastien Rabastens and Clément Scellier in France in 2012, Jimini’s has been gathering interest and fans along the way ever since; their edible insects are now available in 250 shops in France and Belgium.
But why eat insects at all?
Besides being a common practise in certain areas of the world (1,000 different species of insect are eaten by humans in 80% of the world’s countries), insects are high in protein and Omega 3 and 6.
Experts say eating insects could well be the future, being a more sustainable way of eating protein than traditional meat, with meat production putting huge strain on the environment. Unlike cattle, insect farming requires very little land, water or other raw materials.
All that makes perfect sense. Still, it takes a strong stomach.
I’m sure by now you’re dying to know whether my children ate the bugs or not.
First, huge sigh of relief, when the samples arrived and unlike the TV show, the insects are, just to confirm, dead. Second, they do have some delicious sounding flavours.
We were sent Smoked Onion BBQ crickets, Garlic and Herb mealworms and a Dark Chocolate and Banana Bar made with cricket flour, but you can also munch on grasshoppers flavoured with pepper & dried tomato, Greek spices or fruity curry and paprika flavours; mealworms in sesame and cumin and imperial soy, or sweet mango crickets.
All of Jimini’s insects are manufactured at specialised farms in the Netherlands and then flavoured in France. No artificial colourings or preservatives are used. But one word of caution – insects carry the same allergy warnings as shellfish so if you or your family have a shellfish allergy then you might be relieved to learn that eating insects is not for you!
So, I rounded up the kids and set out small dishes of crickets and mealworms and chopped the chocolate bar into small chunks so we could all tuck in. When I say we, I mean my daughter, the bravest of all of us. I was busy, em, filming. Someone had to hold the camera.
The Jimini’s Edible Insects Taste Test….. the results
Now, bear in mind my daughter is a fussy eater and won’t even touch a pea on a good day, how was she going to deal with crickets and mealworms? Well, after eyeballing a cricket, and I mean that literally (Mum, I can see its eeeeeyes), here’s how she got on with the mealworms.
So, after the initial reluctance, she actually quite liked the taste!
Next up, the dark chocolate and banana bar made with cricket flour.
While the above experiment might seem like a lighthearted bit of fun, there was a slightly more serious reason for me getting my daughter involved in the bug-eating taste test. I do wonder at my daughter’s resistance to eating vegetables and question whether it’s something she now believes about herself to the point where it’s become a habit. I don’t like vegetables so I won’t try them, kind of thing.
For her to be adventurous enough to eat a mealworm, to get past the fact it’s a mealworm and actually appreciate its taste, has given me food for thought in terms of where she is in her vegetable eating – but more on that in another post.
Want to do your own taste test?
If you fancy trying out Jimini’s crickets, grasshoppers, mealworms and fruit and nut bars for yourself, or get the kids to do their own Bushtucker Trial, pop along to the BBC Good Food Show at the ExCeL Centre in London this weekend (20th May – 22 May 2016) where founders Bastien and Clément will be offering up their wares.
Meals Our Kids Love did not receive payment for this post but received free samples of Jimini’s edible insects to test, for the purpose of writing an honest review.