My brother and I harvested ants for the first time the other day, DAMN they were delicious. Ate them with stinging nettles and fresh oysters. Is anybody else getting in on this? If so which varieties are they enjoying the best?
Haven’t tried this yet. How did you harvest them?
We used sticks, just stuck them in the hill so that the ants would crawl up, then brushed the ants off with our hands into a container. Its an incredibly easy and fun thing to do.
do tell. how did you prepare them?
Well we were out rabbit stalking, but they were all in peoples front yards, so we went for the sure thing. We harvested the smaller ants that live here, that are black with rusty coloured heads. Roasted them in a skillet till they were a bit crispy, and put them on some steamed stinging nettles (steamed just long enough to cook, so that there is still a little bit of sting left). We used them almost as a seasoning because these ants produce vinegar as a defense mechanism, REALLY potent vinegar. I certainly couldn’t have eaten them alone, not because their taste was unpleasant, but because it would be like a mouthfull of (crunchy) vinegar. My conclusion is that we need to get rid of salt shakers, and have ant shakers.
I love eating ants by themselves, no preparation just chew fast so they cant try to bite your mouth. Yum!
oh…I tasted “vinegar”. I didn’t know that. I just thought some tasted really unpaletable and unpleasant.
…and try not to forget…I always have to remind myself…bite and crunch up the raw one’s heads so that they don’t chew through your stomach lining and tissues. That always bites:) That also goes for all raw insects with living mandibles. I don’t want any body to get hurt rewilding!
ants are a very potent and revered yang source in chinese herbalism. awesome
Since this was first posted I have tried many ants and I think the taste is grrrreat! (Tony the Tiger voice). Not like vinegar at all but like a sour woodland candy. I’ve only eaten them fresh though, not cooked. The first time popping one into my mouth I was a bit scared to even kill it at all and had to squish it dead before I put it in my mouth, but now I’m a fanatic. I’m going to embarrass myself in someone’s home someday, like picking my nose, I’ll try and be sly about it but they’ll have seen me pop that ant into my mouth and then what will I say? Larry Dean Olsen says something about one part of the ant being separated and winnowed off to make a sugar…He also says not to eat insects raw because they could carry parasites, but that can’t possibly apply to all insects, can it? If so I’ll risk it, a fresh, tart ant is just too good to pass up.
Once when I was young we woke up one morning to find the kitchen infested with thousands and thousands of ants. Now my mouth waters at the memory.
I’ve read that ants do not carry parasites - and have eaten them raw my whole life, thought never winnowed the butts like Larry Dean proposes. hope fully some day soon.
My friend and I saw about 1 squre foot of “sugar” ants forming a thick blackish-brown mass that sprouted out out of a small crevice between some side walk cement the other day. It looked like enough protein for two or three rewilders for a day. We wonder why they climbed outside and collected like that, but did stay long to find out? Anybody know why ants sometimes do that.
I’ve noticed these little swarm-piles around too. From what I understand, this happens commonly in the Spring, and connects with mating (kind of a big “send-off”, the worker ants booting out the mating ones from the nest), though mating ants have wings, and I don’t remember seeing wings on the ant-swarms on the sidewalks. Look for them next time, and tell me if you see any winged ants.
Late feburary I saw a lots winged with workers when I picked up some cardboard off the ground, but the swarm we saw the other day on the ground had only workers. I heard they do that because they get an overpopulation in the nest during the cold season, so they have to release themselves. Or, what if the insides of their nest callapsed abit causing them to have to evacute and wait close by outside? I don’t know…I’ve seen slightly smaller than carpenter ants do this to in grass once and that can get very exciting to watch, but I remember having to be careful because they can start to swarm your legs if you don’t watch out. Maybe they have some reconstruction to do so they have a lot of workers just stand outside until further notice. Yeah I don’t know, does anybody know what we mean?
Well, other than the time the ants swamed my kitchen (they were literally dripping off the ceiling), I’ve only seen swarms in the form of rivers of ants in Costa Rica. They were flowing so beautifully across the road, breaking up and coming backtogether again…
Heh, how’s this for some ant + parasite fun?
Weird, the fruiting bodies looked like claymation. Maybe I just watch too much of that lately (check out this spider’s tale of woe)!
They sound species-specific, so this doesn’t put me off eating ants. Also, I don’t quite understand the relationship between the ant and fungus, the narrator seems to put his own spin of “control” on it. In the forest, the fungi reclaim the nutrients from those who have died already, right? i.e. trees/logs. I know sometimes people, animals, plants sustain fungal infections, but how often do they kill us? I guess I’ve seen it happen to garden plants, but they already live in less than ideal circumstances where it makes sense that they have a hard time clinging to life.
I wonder who, in turn, eats the fungi who eat the ants, moths, etc.?
I have a book out from the library, Man Eating Bugs by Peter Menzel & Fatih D’Alusio, for more info, but I haven’t gotten far into it yet.
Wow, never knew ants could just be plucked up and eaten like that. And given how many ants are born in a colony a day, you should be able to eat a lot of them without damaging the health of the colony. Kinda worried about the parasites, though. Of course, I can always just roast them.
One needn’t worry about the Cordyceps fungus, each variety is species specific. IOW one that lives inside of an ant or any other invertebrate will not affect a human. I looked in to this a while back and from what I can tell thus far there is no known one that affects humans, that would be scary though!
Can you imagine one wrapping itself around your brain causing you to climb up a tree where you grip on to it for dear life and then die? Nature is a cruel mother sometimes!
I would like to see the anatomy of what the fungal mycelium look like inside of the victim’s (ant, grasshopper, etc) body. Too bad they’re so tiny!
I know that termites can contain parasites though I don’t recall whether or not they can be transmitted to humans through raw ingestion.
Now I’m all excited to go out and eat some insects! I just got in to Entomophagy so this thread jumped out at me when I saw it. Thanks for the info!
My family thinks I’m crazy, but I think ants taste damn fine. I like 'em uncooked, they have more tang that way.
I kind of wonder if mashing up a bunch of ants then spreading the paste over game meats (like coon) would have a similar effect to brining.
I may have to try that sometime.
Here in NZ we don’t have those ant mounds etc…
Our ants live under rocks or wood etc… with massive underground lairs…
just wondering, it doesn’t matter what type they are I take it all ants are edible ?