Each packet contains from 12 to 20 caterpillars.
Caterpillars are viewed as a delicacy in many countries inside Africa. They are rich in proteins and help fighting against food scarcity and famine in those areas often affected by starvation and poverty. Besides that, caterpillars are a truly delicious and healthy food really rich in vitamins and minerals.
Each packet contains from 12 to 20 caterpillars, each one measuring up to 9 cm long.
African caterpillars, which we are selling at a premium, belong to the Sapelli species, better known as Imbrasia oyemensis. They can usually be found in Central Africa and in some Far-east countries where local people, including Pygmy, have always consumed them.
This species of caterpillar gets its name from the fact that they are litterally falling down from the Sapelli tree (Entandrophragma cylindicum) during the rainy season.
The explanation for this strange phenomenon is simple: when raining their legs no longer stick to the slippery tree leaves. Once they have “fallen from the sky” everybody can start picking them up. Sapelli caterpillars are usually eating tree leaves themselves and they molt on a regular basis, usually four to six times before entering their pupa stage, after which they turn into butterflies.
The caterpillars: an essential nutrient
Wherever they are eaten, be it in Africa or elsewhere, edible caterpillars are considered a delicacy.
Consuming caterpillar is even a very important part of everybody's diet in Democratic Republic of Congo, especially in the province of Bas-Congo, located in the East. In this area, they represent up to 40% of the all protein intake, and sometimes up to 75% when it comes to people living in isolated place.
Unlike what many may come to think, caterpillars are not considered a source of emergency food, eaten to survive – quite the contrary. They are highly appreciated for their unique and deep flavor and they are a part of daily dishes for many African people.
A few years ago, overconsumption and bushfires drastically reduced the number of caterpillars in these area. Besides that, traditions that helped to protect the species, such as letting caterpillars located on the upper branches of trees, tend to be ignored.
But thanks to many development projects in Africa, the quantity of edible caterpillars available for human consumption is now back to acceptable levels. These improvements have even allowed the Congolese people to set up a small export chain for entomovores like yourself !
The caterpillars: a source of high quality proteins
In 100g of dehydrated caterpillars, you can find around to 53g of proteins, 17g of carbohydrates and only 15g of fat only ! Their energy value is about 435 kilocalories per 100g of product.
Caterpillars are also rich in minerals such as potassium, zinc, phosphorus and iron as well as manydifferent vitamins. Studies have shown that 100g of these insects may provide more than 100% of our daily needs in vitamins and minerals.
In some areas, due to the high nutritional value of caterpillar and to help fight malnutrition, these edible insects are ground to prepare a paste, which is then given to children. The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) even warmly recommends this unusual food in order to improve the eveyday nutrition of African people.
Our insects are cooked, all you have to do is open the package and enjoy them!