It was fascinating to research information about Mopane Worms as a valuable food resource for the previous article (To Chew or not to Chew).
So when Frank Taylor, a man keen on all things wild, wrote to give us more information, we just had to pass this on to you. Mopane Worms are one of Frank’s favourite snacks – dried and crispy – when, he says, they have a dried shrimp taste. Frank was involved in a two year study on all aspects of the worm, from life cycle to cooking and preserving. And, it seems, it is the norm that the worms (they are actually caterpillars) are left with guts intact, then cooked in their own juice with a pinch of salt – after which they are dried.
His best recipe for making a stew is to cook them up with tomatoes, onions and some herbs and spices. Simple as that. Be aware, they are slightly chewy but the flavour is so good, you can get over that! (I will believe you, Frank.)
Harvesting and preserving Mopane Worms is a multi-million Rand business – and there are two hatchings of pupae a year with about two months in between them – but some of the pupae can stay up to 3 years below ground before hatching.
Mopane Worms are one of the world’s top 30 proteins containing all the amino acids. But being an insect protein, it is not as fully digestible as animal protein. Even so, it has been found that people’s health has improved, sometimes quite dramatically, from eating them and they are especially good for anyone who has a compromised immune system.
So are you ready to change from Vitamin C to a Mopane Worm Bredie?
For your interest, Frank is involved with the production of wild foods, a company dedicated to developing income generating opportunities for rural harvesters, in a sustainable way.
He doesn’t sell Mopane worms, but he does have some delicious Marula products (and you can find out more about the fruit here)
See Frank’s website at www.wildfruitsofafrica.com. Why not bring some of his Marula snacks with you on your next trip to the bush?