Insect-based dishes on menu at St George's Market
The Society of Biology will run cooking demonstrations at the first Northern Ireland Science Festival
It might not be the most appealing snack for a weekend stroll round St George's Market - but we could all be indulging in these invertebrate treats in the future.
The Society of Biology will be paying a visit to Belfast's most popular market on Saturday and Sunday to offer foodies a chance to sample some tasty insect-based dishes.
As part of the first Northern Ireland Science Festival (www.nisciencefestival.com), the Society of Biology will run cooking demonstrations, taster sessions and hands-on activities to challenge people to think differently about what we eat.
Scientists have warned that, with the increasing financial and environmental costs of our current eating habits, we should be looking at sustainable and alternative food sources. Dishes on the Menu of the Future will include: roasted cricket sticks dipped in a choice of BBQ, sweet chilli or chocolate sauce; pan-fried chilli crickets with onion, chives and ginger; and chocolate brownies topped with syrup-soaked mealworms.
Mealworms are the larvae from the mealworm beetle and are often food for birds and other animals. Crickets, often identified by their distinctive chirping sound, are a relative of the grasshopper. House crickets cannot survive UK weather so they are often found where there are sources of heat in houses or decomposing rubbish heaps. They have flattened bodies and long antennae.
Insects already form part of the traditional diets of an estimated two billion people worldwide and more than 1,900 species have reportedly been used as food.
Rearing insects for food and animal feed has a low environmental impact. Crickets are twice as efficient in converting feed to meat as chicken, at least four times more efficient than pigs, and 12 times more efficient than cattle.
Eating insects is also good for you as they are a highly nutritious and healthy food source with high fat, protein, vitamin, fibre and mineral content.
Dr Penny Fletcher MSB, events manager at the Society of Biology, said: "Food security for our growing global population is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.
"With the increasing financial and environmental costs associated with our current eating habits, sustainable alternatives need to be explored."
"Rearing insects to feed humans and animals could be a valuable tool in producing enough food in a way that keeps us and our planet healthy."
The Society of Biology's Menu of the Future event, in partnership with Bugs for Life, will take place from 10am-3pm this Saturday and Sunday.
More information about the event can be found at societyofbiology.org/events/event_ menuofthefutureinstgeorgesmarket northernirelandsciencefestival
Canapés - mealworms with mushrooms, anchovies and walnuts served on pumpernickel bread with beetroot relish
Roasted House Crickets dipped in a choice of BBQ, sweet chilli or chocolate sauce
Pan-fried chili crickets with onion, chives and ginger. Chocolate brownies topped with syrup-soaked mealworms