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Taste-Testing Manchurian Scorpions

Taste-Testing Manchurian Scorpions

· 5 min. read

Have you ever been walking down the street and you spot a scorpion scamper out from behind a rock and think, "I wonder what that little critter tastes like?"

No, probably not. And that's probably for the best.

Scorpions are venous, but only while alive or immediately after death. If you're planning on eating scorpions, it is recommended to wait a few hours after they die before consuming them, especially if you plan to eat them uncooked. Once enough time passes, the venom dissolves, and the scorpions are no longer dangerous to eat ? although a little prickly.

But why on God's Green Earth would you want to eat a scorpion anyway? Well, why not?

I recently purchased a "Bug Box" from EntoMarket, which sells a variety of different, edible insects. I was hoping for cricket flour backed into cookies or chocolate-covered ants or even mustard flavoured mealworms, but nope; I got a box full of edible Manchurian scorpions instead.

Black box from EntoMarket with scorpion decalsThe scorpions inside the box

These scorpions have been dead for a while and are dried out from the salt, so they are not dangerous. However, they are still icky. They are also perfect for teaching people about scorpion safety. Few people know this, but scorpions do live in Saskatchewan (as do black widows and rattlesnakes). They are common to find in the southwest corner of the province, around the Swift Current area. While I am not sure how venous ours are (or how tasty), all scorpions share a unique characteristic where they glow under UV light ? and slightly under moonlight too.

Glowing Scorpions

Scientists aren't sure why scorpions glow blue-green under UV light, but they believe it has something to do with measuring how exposed they are to the elements. Scorpions can't see very well, but they can see the light their bodies emit. If they are growing stronger, they know they are exposed to natural light.

At least, that is the theory.

Although scorpions have a negative stigma in the West, in the Far East, scorpions ? especially Manchurian Scorpions ? are often used in medicine and in tonics. They are also fried with rice or used in soups throughout Asia. The ones I got, however, were just salted.

Because most people don't think about eating scorpions, most don't realize that their exoskeleton is very similar to some shellfish. This means that if somebody has a shellfish allergy, they most likely have an allergy to scorpions too. Not only is this an extremely helpful tidbit of knowledge, but it can also give you an excuse not to eat one.

So, what do they taste like? I teamed up with local content creators Dylan Fairman and Ryan Doka to taste-test them. While we were mixed on if we liked them or not, we can all agree it tastes like a cross between heavily salted beef jerky and dry dog food.

So, if scorpions are venomous, fluorescent, deadly to some people, and taste gross all together, why eat them? Although there is a lot going against including scorpions into your regular diet, it is believed that soon insects will be replacing traditional meat. As we look for healthier, cheaper, greener food, we can expect rolling pastures for cattle to be replaced by warehouses for bugs. It takes an inane amount of water to raise a cow, but only a fraction to raise insects. Additionally, while beef is only about 20% protein, scorpions are upwards of 80% protein. They are also packed full of nutrients and are much more concentrated than traditional beef, pork, and chicken.

Although I doubt McDonald's will be rolling out a scorpion burger anytime soon, I do see other insects like crickets and grasshoppers becoming more and more common in our diet within the next few years.

But what do you think? Would you be willing to eat bugs if it meant saving the planet? Could you imagine preparing a dish with insects instead of meat? Do you think you could eat a scorpion? Let me know in the comments below!

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Categories: Asia, Unboxing

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