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Micro farming

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Post Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:34 am
Fey

Posts: 179
Last year I tried my hand at micro farming. If the world goes bust, I reckon it would be good to produce some form of protein with a fat content so My family doesn't die of starvation like the early day bunny eaters. Because I've got five large mulberry trees, I thought silkworm pupae would be the go.

The year before I bought a few silkworm eggs from eBay, hatched, reared and collected all the eggs from this first lot of grubs. If you put the eggs in a little jar in the fridge you can take them out any time the following a Spring, Summer or even Autumn if you still have leaves on your trees (which I do right up to a Winter). They take a week to ten days to hatch, depending on how hot the weather is, and a tiny paint brush was needed to move the little ones from old leaves to new leaves each day.

By six weeks they are spinning their cocoons and in about one week's time after cocooning, they are pupae. If you give the cocoon a gentle shake, the pupae will feel like it's rattling inside the cocoon and it's ready to be eaten. I freeze mine first because I don't believe in letting something suffer. Some people just throw them into the pan but freezing them first is more humane.

Anyway, take the pupae out of the cocoons and cook them up in a little oil and enjoy.
They are a little crunchy on the outside with a bit of a gooey centre depending on how long you cook them.

Add a little salt and they taste just like cashews (with a gooey centre). We actually had friends over and made a day of it. I'm still surprised that I have friends willing to give it a go but they are all ridgey didge survivalists.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21422715 for a bit about nutritional run down.

It looks like anything that comes from a mulberry tree is good for diabetes. It doesn't mention it here but serapeptase from silkworms looks promising for a lot of illnesses. I don't know if it's in the pupae or whether it's developed by the silkworm after it's reached the mothhood.

Post Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:24 pm
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
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Posts: 1030
Fey wrote:
but freezing them first is more humane.

Somehow I kind of am not believing this part. I am not sure of the weather where you live but my hands HURT BAD well before they get down to 32 degrees!

Post Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:56 pm
Fey

Posts: 179
It's difficult to work out which is the most humane. Because they are so small, they should freeze very fast, whereas your hands would have the circulation of your larger body fighting against being frozen. In China, they dump the lot into boiling water because they want the glue in the cocoon removed for easier collection of the silk. So I suppose it's up to the pupae eater as to what they decide is kinder.

I'd like to find the nutritional value of the glue soup because it's supposed to be a delicacy.

I forgot to mention... One good sized tree raises around 1000 silkworms.

One day I'll give mealy worms a go. People eat these things all around the world and also they can be raised without drawing attention to you having food production going on. Now that I've tried them, I just raise around twenty worms each year to refresh the egg supply just in case we need them. The old eggs can be used as fish food in the aquaculture.

Post Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:26 pm
Doc Jones User avatar
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Posts: 927
IdahoHerbalist wrote:
Fey wrote:
but freezing them first is more humane.

Somehow I kind of am not believing this part. I am not sure of the weather where you live but my hands HURT BAD well before they get down to 32 degrees!


That's because you're warm-blooded and your fingers get mad if they get cold. Cold-blooded critters like bugs are designed to shut down in the winter. They go into an "anesthetized" state when they get cold.

Doc

Post Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:01 am
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
Site Admin

Posts: 1030
Doc Jones wrote:
They go into an "anesthetized" state when they get cold.

That makes sense. See, all that money you spent at that school FINALLY paid off! :face palm 2:

Post Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:59 pm
Doc Jones User avatar
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Posts: 927
That's right. It was in college that I learned how to lay an ant on his back on an ice cube to anethstize him so I could shave off its whiskers. I just can't figure out why none of my veterinary clients want me to do grooming on their ants. I'm probably the only vet in town that knows how to do the anesthesia. LOL

Post Sun Dec 07, 2014 2:04 pm
Doc Jones User avatar
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Posts: 927
By the way, speaking of eating bugs (we were weren't we? ) it is important to always cook insects prior to eating them. They can have a lot of parasites in them. Also, don't eat fuzzy caterpillars.

Post Sun Dec 07, 2014 3:52 pm
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
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Posts: 1030
Even insects that we culture ourselves? Is it their lack of bathroom etiquette that makes this needed?

Post Tue Dec 09, 2014 6:12 am
Doc Jones User avatar
Site Admin

Posts: 927
Fey wrote:
It's difficult to work out which is the most humane. Because they are so small, they should freeze very fast, whereas your hands would have the circulation of your larger body fighting against being frozen. In China, they dump the lot into boiling water because they want the glue in the cocoon removed for easier collection of the silk. So I suppose it's up to the pupae eater as to what they decide is kinder.

I'd like to find the nutritional value of the glue soup because it's supposed to be a delicacy.

I forgot to mention... One good sized tree raises around 1000 silkworms.

One day I'll give mealy worms a go. People eat these things all around the world and also they can be raised without drawing attention to you having food production going on. Now that I've tried them, I just raise around twenty worms each year to refresh the egg supply just in case we need them. The old eggs can be used as fish food in the aquaculture.


So Fey, how are you getting the pupae out of the trees? Our mulberry trees are huge and would be no fun to climb to harvest pupae from. Are you actually putting them on the trees or are you harvesting leaves to feed them in containers or some such?

BTW, almost everything on a mulberry tree is medicinal...great plant...but that's another thread.

Doc

Post Tue Dec 09, 2014 6:15 am
Doc Jones User avatar
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Posts: 927
IdahoHerbalist wrote:
Even insects that we culture ourselves? Is it their lack of bathroom etiquette that makes this needed?


It's just a good rule of thumb that the wilderness survival guys always mention.

Doc

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