Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Earth Idle Technology

Grow Your Daily Protein At Home With an Edible Insect Desktop Hive 381

HughPickens.com writes: Fast Coexist reports on the Edible Insect Desktop Hive, a kitchen gadget designed to raise mealworms (beetle larva), a food that has the protein content of beef without the environmental footprint. The hive can grow between 200 and 500 grams of mealworms a week, enough to replace traditional meat in four or five dishes. The hive comes with a starter kit of "microlivestock," and controls the climate inside so the bugs have the right amount of fresh air and the right temperature to thrive. If you push a button, the mealworms pop out in a harvest drawer that chills them. You're supposed to pop them in the freezer, then fry them up or mix them into soup, smoothies, or bug-filled burgers. "Insects give us the opportunity to grow on small spaces, with few resources," says designer Katharina Unger, founder of Livin Farms, the company making the new home farming gadget. "A pig cannot easily be raised on your balcony, insects can. With their benefits, insects are one part of the solution to make currently inefficient industrial-scale production of meat obsolete."

Of course, that assumes people will be willing to eat them. Unger thinks bugs just need a little rebranding to succeed, and points out that other foods have overcome bad reputations in the past. "Even the potato, that is now a staple food, was once considered ugly and was given to pigs," says Unger adding that sushi, raw fish, and tofu were once considered obscure products. "Food is about perception and cultural associations. Within only a short time and the right measures, it can be rebranded. . . . Growing insects in our hive at home is our first measure to make insects a healthy and sustainable food for everyone."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Grow Your Daily Protein At Home With an Edible Insect Desktop Hive

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 16, 2015 @07:09PM (#50943745)

    Get us commoners to eat insects while the ruling class gets steak.
    capcha: liberals

    • I'm sure this is covered by Agenda 21 somehow.....

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @08:36PM (#50944283)

      Get us commoners to eat insects while the ruling class gets steak.

      My chickens eat insects, while I eat eggs. I turn over a few square meters of topsoil and compost each day, so they can eat the bugs and worms. They also eat table scraps, and a few scoops of commercial laying pellets.

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by penguinoid ( 724646 )

      Just tell them to "bug off".

    • It's all fine and dandy to joke but the division between the rich and poor is becoming quite significant and getting worse, my fear is, it seems to be speeding up this last decade.

      The middle class are being wiped out, you either make it big time or you're in the bottom rungs. Sure we're not squabbling over foodscraps yet but the quality of living is slowly dropping for quite a few.

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @07:16PM (#50943779)
    or, at least, i do. Renfield
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 16, 2015 @07:49PM (#50944015)

      Actually, we all do. Not just the ones that end up in our food by accident that we don't notice (how much bug powder per gram of flour?), but also intentional inclusions like cochineal and various other additives.

      Really we just need to get over our insect eating phobia: it's all arbitrary. Steak good, meal-worm bad. Moreton-Bay bugs good, other bugs bad. The distinction is nonsense (not to mention completely absent in many cultures) - get over it people.

      • if people want to eat X, thats for them and there is no problem

        its when people want to tell me that I cant eat Y that we have a problem
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

          its when people want to tell me that I cant eat Y that we have a problem

          Has someone told you that you can't eat something? I mean, assuming you aren't a Jew, Muslim, Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist.

          Other than religious restrictions, who the fuck is telling you you can't eat something? Wait, has your mom been telling you to lay off the Cheetohs and pork rinds again?

          • Other than religious restrictions, who the fuck is telling you you can't eat something? Wait, has your mom been telling you to lay off the Cheetohs and pork rinds again?

            There is a subset of militant vegans (well, they're not really militant, they just won't STFU) who want everyone else to stop eating meat. They have some good points*, but again, they are mostly annoying.

            * sometimes they lock pretty naked girls in cages on the street for others' amusement

            • There is a subset of militant vegans (well, they're not really militant, they just won't STFU) who want everyone else to stop eating meat.

              "Want" and "tell me I can't" are a long way apart.

              * sometimes they lock pretty naked girls in cages on the street for others' amusement

              Sounds like the gentleman's club out on Route 41.

          • This, for example, seems like a good idea of telling you what not to eat (or at least how it is is prepared)

            The British Veterinary Association, along with citizens who have assembled a petition with 100,000[20] signatures, have raised concerns regarding a proposed halal abattoir in Wales, in which animals are not to be stunned prior to killing.

            Concern about slaughtering, without prior stunning, has resulted in the religious slaughter of animals being banned in Denmark, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Nor
            • How is this anything like telling you that you can't eat something? Are you worried that not having the religious slaughter of animals is going to mean you can't have bacon? Because I can assure you, this is not the case.

      • by Deepkat Chopra ( 4335431 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @08:14PM (#50944145)
        Great, another "Gosh, what's the difference from eating steak?" doofus. We need to get over pretensions of "the distinction is nonsense". The bug-eater proposal is not a suggestion that we eat wee little fillets of insect muscle. It's a suggestion that we eat whole bugs – shells, heads, eyes, guts, everything. How often do you eat ground cow? No, not ground beef; ground cow? Heads, hide, bones, hooves, guts, and all? You never have and never will? Exactly. I'm not saying we need to balk at eating animals whole when it comes to bugs; after all, many people *do* eat insects, as you say. But for those who'll need persuasion to get there, let's not pretend that bugs are like teeny chuck steaks or dot-sized lobster tails, and sigh "get over it" when people aren't fooled.
      • by towermac ( 752159 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @08:25PM (#50944219)

        What do you mean, it's arbitrary?

        It's not arbitrary if you're a cow. Cows have hopes and dreams, feelings; the right to exist. And they get to exist in large numbers as long as we like to eat them. I know what you're thinking; the cow doesn't like that part where man kills him and eats him.

        Not true. All cows have always died of being eaten by something else. This was the case long before cows ever saw a human. If you tried, and were somehow able, to explain dying peacefully surrounded by your loved ones; they wouldn't understand it. Dying good is being killed quickly and then eaten; a horrible death is being eaten alive while conscious. That's the end of a cow's life in almost every case, since the beginning of the time that there were cows.

        Now, possibly, we eat the cows while they are too young. If we as a society, decided to give them more of their lives in exchange for this bargain; a raise, as it were... well, the price of beef would go up. I'd hate that, but I could be convinced. I could see: All cows are allowed to socialize and become old enough to have sex at least once, and females get to have at least one baby, before Bam!, we eat you. Heh, cow rights. I'm ahead of my time.

        Now, however weird that sounded, substitute bugs for cows, and see how weird it sounds.

  • by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudson@gma i l .com> on Monday November 16, 2015 @07:17PM (#50943789) Journal

    sushi, raw fish, and tofu were once considered obscure products.

    Sorry, but tofu is still gross - right up there with rice cakes.

    • There's also the soy/estrogen thing. I still remember getting sore moobs from trying soy protein powder.

      • There's also the soy/estrogen thing. I still remember getting sore moobs from trying soy protein powder.

        Yeah, but they were nice and firm, and you looked good in that sweater.

    • Rice cakes? Wait a minute, hey, I've been setting my drinks on these!

    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      Raw tofu is disgusting. Properly cooked tofu however takes on the flavor of what it's cooked with, provides no flavor of its own, and the texture can be controlled by how it's cooked.

      • In that case, the restaurants must be doing something wrong, because I find the tofu tasteless and pretty much textureless. About the only exception is veggie burgers.
        • by Rei ( 128717 )

          If restaurants are serving you tasteless textureless tofu, then yes, they suck at their job. As the veggie burgers prove, you can make tofu good - if you cook it to the desired texture (the longer you cook it the more it "toughens", to a more meaty texture - although if you cook it too long it can get too chewy or grainy) and season it right (it takes on the flavors of whatever it's cooked in - but they have to be strong enough).

  • by Rinikusu ( 28164 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @07:17PM (#50943793)

    Lobster and Shrimp...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What about the exoskeleton? We have tools for taking care of that with lobster and shrimp.
      We also have ways of removing beef bones. What do you do about all that chitin surrounding the mealworm flesh?

    • by quenda ( 644621 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @08:01PM (#50944075)

      Lobster - arthropods that live on the floor of the ocean, hiding in the dark and scurrying out at night to scavenge on whatever dead muck they can find. Yes, thay are aquatic cockroaches.
      We used to use those awful creatures as fish bait, but now it is all exported to those weirdos in Japan who'll eat anything.

      Shrimp? Now you are talking. They can be grown in vats in your garage at home, and are big enough that unlike mealworms you can break off the head, guts and shell, and just eat the meat. Yumm.

      Personally, I'll just keep the chooks in my back yard coop. They are reasonably efficient at turning grain and scraps into tasty eggs, plus fertiliser for the veggie garden.

  • by Lagmo ( 972467 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @07:18PM (#50943803)
    REAL Klingons only eat live Gakh!
  • was a major hurdle, so I was unable to back the full project. But I did back at a lower level...so we'll get some mealworms to try.

    It's going to be difficult to get past many peoples' initial ick factors.

  • by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @07:21PM (#50943825)

    https://www.kickstarter.com/pr... [kickstarter.com]

    I enjoy fried mealworms as replacements for salty snacks, like any other pop-and-crunch food covered in chili powder.

  • The part they neglect to tell you: mealworms live exclusively on a diet of Kobe beef and caviar.

  • Were taken over by insects. And got some to eat bugs that burrowed into their brains.

  • .

    .

    .

    Yet another advantage of not showering daily.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 16, 2015 @07:35PM (#50943927)

    currently inefficient industrial-scale production of meat

    Yes, it is *currently* inefficient, because *they are doing it wrong*!!!

    1 - destroy millions of acres of ecosystem and drain rivers dry to monocrop grains
    2 - force-feed feedlot cattle candy
    3 - pump them full of antibiotics to attempt to combat their inevitable poor health
    4 - bitch about inhumane livestock treatment and conditions
    5 - go vegan/grow meal worms to think you've solved the problem

    - or -

    1 - graze cattle on the 70+ % of land *that is not suitable for monocrop agriculture practices anyways* but happens to be plenty fertile enough to grow stuff naturally that cows will happily, and healthily eat. Let the cows do the work of walking to their food, rather than spending fuel to grow candy and bring it to them.
    2 - grow something more eco-friendly in the millions of acres currently being wasted on corn (say, the original natural fauna?)
    3 - round up the cattle when it's time to slaughter--they will be healthy and have a much better nutrient profile for us as well

    Notice anything missing from the list? antibiotics? feedlots? grains? clear cutting to make feedlot grounds? check check check check.

    Read Joel Salatin's works for more info.

    • I live in Alabama and all the cattle farms I know of do exactly what you describe in the second list. The cows graze on grass, and in the Winter they eat hay that was grown during the Summer. Maybe when they're sold somebody will feed them grain before they're slaughtered, but I'm not even sure about that. I do know that some of the farmers sell beef directly to the consumer, and it's delicious!

      The man I was working with today is one of Alabama's many small ranchers - averages around 50 head. He eats a LOT
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 16, 2015 @08:22PM (#50944185)

      Never actually been on a ranch I can see....

      There is a reason we have those feed lots as inefficient and stinky as they turn out to be. Mainly they are FAST and a cheaper way to generate the meat the consumer wants.

      Most folks don't like grass fed beef. They want their beef with lots of fat, as young as possible, and as quickly as we can produce it. That says "Feed Lot" where we do the best we can to get the cattle to eat as much as they can convert to fat/meat as we can arrange. If you preferred grass fed beef, that's what you'd be getting. Trust me, it's easier and a lot less messy to kick them out to pasture to snap up as much grass as you can put in front of them. Rancher's would love it, they'd be keeping their own steers, feeding them all the grass/hay they could find until they reached slaughter weight and just sell them to processors direct. As it stands, they sell their yearling steers to feed lots, who take them to slaughter weight as quickly as possible.

      Personally, I've had grass raised beef. It's not bad but it's an acquired taste I'm afraid. You end up making more hamburger because it's way too lean and tough in places, but over all it works if it is cooked right. However, I prefer grain finished beef. That extra bit of fat and marbling is much nicer and makes for better tasting steaks. I've raised my own beef both ways, and obviously the feed lot model produces better results.

      The antibiotic issue is not really a problem for feed lots, who generally don't go around just shooting up all the steers with antibiotics as a matter of course. Of course they DO use them in dairy operations quite a bit and you are more likely to find them in milk than meat. Dairy operations also use a lot of growth hormones to boost production which is worrisome if you ask me. Feed lots get in on this as well, but not to as much and they are really just adding on as a supplement a hormone that's already present naturally. I find this hormone augmentation more of a worry than antibiotics which cannot be given within a set timeframe of slaughter.

      So... Until folks acquire a taste for grass fed beef, feed lots are where the bulk of your beef will come from. That's just based on what the American pallet will accept and the cheapest way to produce what we want to eat. There is not much else that's going to happen so get used to the idea.

    • Why AC?

  • Gagh (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 16, 2015 @07:49PM (#50944003)

    Call it gagh and serve it with prune juice. Trekkies'll eat it.

  • Soylent Yellow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Matheus ( 586080 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @07:52PM (#50944035) Homepage

    They never go into detail in the book (I believe... pardon it's been an eternity since I've read it) but my assumption was always Soylent Yellow and Red were some artificially produced edible protein where it's entirely likely yellow came from insects and red maybe even came from real animals (rats?).

    The way to get people to eat this stuff is to have it come out in NOT-INSECT-LOOKING form such as a cube of blended worm-meal.. maybe even with some artificial flavoring / coloring added. I mean... people eat Tofu don't they? (I don't... but some people do. ;)

    • They never go into detail in the book (I believe... pardon it's been an eternity since I've read it) but my assumption was always Soylent Yellow and Red were some artificially produced edible protein where it's entirely likely yellow came from insects and red maybe even came from real animals (rats?).

      The way to get people to eat this stuff is to have it come out in NOT-INSECT-LOOKING form such as a cube of blended worm-meal.. maybe even with some artificial flavoring / coloring added. I mean... people eat Tofu don't they? (I don't... but some people do. ;)

      Or process it into protein powder (assuming it's cheap enough of course) though that's not viable for the home market.

      I think the issue isn't just the repulsion against eating insects but the lack of processing you can do. My biggest amount of squeamishness doesn't come from the fact that they're bugs, but from the fact I'm eating heads, digestive tracts, etc. Of course you can get over it and I think some sardines come in a similar condition but we like to think of our food as nice and pure and it's hard f

  • by doug141 ( 863552 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @08:41PM (#50944309)

    or fed to prisoners and the poor. http://www.lobsterhelp.com/lob... [lobsterhelp.com]

  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @08:44PM (#50944329)
    One of the first thing you learn in survival school is you can eat a lot of things that you normally would not when you are very hungry. the second thing is a coach roach in a match box is a greta way to get a seat at a crowded bar. Take it out, take a bite, and be polite and offer to share it...
  • I'll stick with chicken until they either come out with artificially grown meat or bugs that are big enough that you can strip out all of the nasty bits (exoskeleton, guts, brain eyes, etc). You can raise modern broilers in 5 to 7 weeks on about 5 lbs of feed each.

  • by wickerprints ( 1094741 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @09:08PM (#50944475)

    We don't eat bugs because historically and culturally, bugs have been a sign of spoilage and infestation. Some cultures do eat mealworms, but this almost exclusively happens in places where agriculture is difficult and high quality protein sources are rare.

    Another reason why we are averse to eating bugs is that they are eaten whole. There are few animals that we consume in their entirety.

    Ways to get around both of these issues ultimately come down to processing. Chemical processing has the potential to extract the proteins while rendering the result into a form that is unrecognizable as being derived from an insect. But, for my own personal tastes, I am not any more or less inclined to want to eat a mealworm than I am inclined to want to eat the intestine of a cow. It's just that, on a cow, it's a lot easier to separate the muscle tissue from the organs.

    • Ahem. May I introduce you to some chitlins [wikipedia.org]? Or a big, steaming bowl of mondongo [dominicancooking.com]? Or, perhaps, ask you what you think your sausages are stuffed into [smokedandcured.com.au]?

  • I find it rather shocking that rather than go for any of the vegan (and low-carbon) meat options, people would rather 'grow' and consume worms..? We've come a long way from blocks of tofu, check out the offerings from companies like Gardein, Beyond Meat, Viana and Fry's. They may not taste exactly like meat (although hot dogs aren't terribly hard to emulate), but they're generally pretty good in their own right. And no doubt they'll try turning them into burgers as well -- is a worm-based fake burger really
    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      Vegan options are strange and untested. Bugs are a known quantity, proven safe over a long term diet. Bugs are also tasty, but it's pretty hard to prepare them in a non-gross way. Hopefully that will change.

      Do vegans really count meal worms as counting as things capable of suffering? Vegans go that route for moral reasons or health reasons, and bugs score very well on the second test, and pretty damned good on the first one. It's pretty silly to compare a mealworm to a cow. Cows care about their foals

"Intelligence without character is a dangerous thing." -- G. Steinem

Working...