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how to harvest and prepare shea caterpillars
how to harvest and prepare shea caterpillars

How to harvest and cook Shea carterpillars ?

How to harvest and cook Shea caterpillars ?

 

Shea caterpillars are edible insects of Burkina Faso. They come from a butterfly scientifically called Cirina butyrospermi who lays its eggs on the leaves of Shea tree. As the eggs hatch, the young caterpillars feed exclusively on leaves.

At the adult stage, caterpillars climb down the tree to dig a hole in the ground, inside which they metamorphose into nymphs. 9 months later, a beautiful butterfly emerges from its cocoon.

 

 

How to harvest caterpillars ?

 

 

how to harvest shea caterpillars

If you want to harvest Shea caterpillars, you need to know that they come down the tree between 4am and 7am. There is no need to wear gloves. In fact, this kind of caterpillars does not create give urticaria. Usually, you will need at least ten trees and one hour to harvest 5kg of fresh caterpillars.

 

Tips: Don’t try to catch the one on the leaves. They are not at an adult stage, which means the quality will be lower than expected.

 

Another method less tiring consists in digging a 20cm hole all around the tree to trap caterpillars and collect them when you wake up.

 

 

 

 

How to cook caterpillars ?

 

shea caterpillars preparation

 

After the harvest, you have the choice between cooking caterpillars right away or drying them in order to conserve it longer. Traditionally, they are boiled with little bit of water, salt and potash. This is the first step of lot of delicious recipes. One of the best is the caterpillar’s broth with soft vegetables.

 

Tips: Don’t try to catch the one on the leaves. They are not at an adult stage, which means the quality will be lower than expected.

 

If you are planning to eat caterpillar’s later, the traditional method is to dry them in the sun during two days. However, since the harvest is during the rainy season, it’s hard to find two consecutive days fully sunny. It’s therefore difficult to dry caterpillars in less than one week. On top of that, the ambient humidity increases the risk of mold.

 

In order to fix this problem, some farms have solar driers where women come to dry caterpillars. With this process, the quality has increased dramatically.

 

The Bug Trotters

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