Friday, 30 March 2012

Wasp larvae

Here on Reunion fried wasp larvae are a local delicacy which are often eaten around Easter time, traditionally during Lent. My husband and I don't cook them ourselves, but when we come across a nest full of larvae in our garden we call one of our neighbours who is quite happy to come and 'relieve' us of them!

Local wasps (Polistes hebraeus) on a nest (source)

The traditional method of harvesting a nest is to smoke off the wasps using a cloth on the end of a choka stem (or broom handle these days). The smoke makes the wasps fly away, but doesn't kill them and they will live to make another nest elsewhere. Nests can sell for €100-200/kg, that's including the weight of the nest itself, even though it's only the larvae inside that are eaten.

A small wasps' nest and some larvae

The larvae first need to be cooked in a small amount of water with salt and pepper added, then once they've turned white they should be taken out of the water, dried, and only then fried in oil with garlic. Due to the small quantity they're generally eaten as a snack or a starter rather than as a meal course. Bon appetit!

Fried wasps (source)

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