The Outside Blog

Adventure : Uncategorized

Fiji's Biggest Wave

I had been monitoring the swells in Fiji for a few years, when, in June 2012, the conditions aligned and I could tell the waves were going to be massive. The swell built during the day and the wind dropped, then switched offshore.

It was a lucky day for the big wave surfers who'd come from all over the world and rode the best conditions Cloudbreak had ever seen. I was fortunate to score a jet ski and was able to position myself in the best spot to capture Reef McIntosh as he stormed through a gigantic barrel.

TOOLS: Canon 1D Mark III, 70-200mm f/4L, 1/1000 second, f/4. ISO 320

Read More

You Should Be Eating G.O.R.C.

There’s nothing quite like the look on your postal carrier’s face when she hands you a container reading “Caution, live insects” and you squeal, “Oh, my snacks!”

I’d ordered 100 crickets in an attempt to make a better trail mix. A few months ago, I’d realized that, while I’d never use my grandfather’s backpacking tent (it’s a good 40 pounds), or his hydration strategy (wine!), I still relied on his tried-and-true raisins-nuts-chocolate combo for mid-hike nutrition.

Clearly my trail mix needed a bit of a remix. Not only are nuts heavy to carry, they’re kind of naughty from a sustainability standpoint—according to a Mother Jones story, it takes 1.1 gallons of water to produce just one of my beloved almonds. So eating them by the handful—the way I tend to do on a long, hard trek—isn't really viable.

But bugs are a different story

“There’s no reason we shouldn’t be eating bugs,” says Daniella Martin, author of Edible: An Adventure into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet. “They’re incredibly nutritious, they have far higher levels of vitamins like zinc, B-12, and calcium than most animal meat. The slaughtering and processing process are very humane and they can be raised and slaughtered much closer to urban areas than other meat can."

Plus, they're lightweight. A cup of roasted crickets weighs about an ounce, while the same amount of peanuts tips the scale at more than a quarter of a pound. For those of us trying to lighten our loads—both in our packs and on the planet—these little arthropods are a pretty attractive snack.

Of course they’re attractive in concept only. I’d imagined the critters would look something like the cartoon crickets of my youth. When I opened the container and saw their hairy back legs and spindly antennae, I had a true moment of revulsion. Jiminy Cricket, when did you get so heinous?

According to Martin, the biggest hiccup with eating bugs (aside from having to put bugs in your mouth) is that we don't have good insect-eating infrastructure in place. "In Thailand, you can go to the equivalent of Costco and buy a bulk-size bag of frozen crickets," she says.

In the United States, you usually have to order your crickets from a supplier. On Martin's advice, I ordered my crickets from Flukers, a Louisiana-based bait company. The five-week-old variety is the best for eating, and 100 isn't as many as you think—if you're making a big batch of trail mix, spring for 200. The crickets arrive alive and the most humane way to kill them is to transfer them directly into the freezer. Twenty-four-hours later, they're ready to cook.

{%{"image":"http://media.outsideonline.com/images/crickets-in-freezer.jpg","size":"large"}%}

"There are companies that sell 'human grade' crickets," says Martin, but she adds that most reputable suppliers' bugs will be perfectly safe for consumption. If you're concerned, ask what the crickets are fed—if it's dog food—the gold standard of cricket food—you're good to go.

When cooked, crickets taste something like a cross between a pumpkin seed and an almond. They're crunchy and salty with just a hint of sweetness. And unlike peanuts, when you pull out crickets mid-hike, you're less likely to send your hiking partner into anaphylactic shock—although, it may send them into another type of shock. But that’s not your problem, is it?

Here are two recipes for a cricket-centric trail mix, courtesy of bug-eating advocate Daniella Martin.

G.O.R.C. (Good Ol’ Raisins and Crickets)

{%{"image":"http://media.outsideonline.com/images/cricket-gorc.JPG","size":"large"}%}

100 frozen crickets
1 tsp. olive oil or canola oil (for the pan)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Healthy pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. (You can skip the foil, but know that the crickets will shed some legs and antennae in the baking process. For me, as a first-time cricket cooker, it was really nice not to have to scrub stray cricket appendages off my baking sheet.) Lightly grease the sheet with the oil.

Remove your crickets from the freezer and rinse them thoroughly in a colander. The crickets will have produced an amazing amount of cricket poop in transit so don’t skip this step. 

Place the crickets on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and cinnamon. Bake in the oven, checking them in five-minute intervals. Keep a close eye on the crickets, as they do burn easily. However, it’s better to err on the side of overcooked than undercooked. When undercooked, their abdomens squish rather unappetizingly in your mouth (voice of experience here), so medium rare is not something to strive for. Mine took about 12-14 minutes to cook fully.

Once cooled, toss the crickets with the golden raisins and chocolate chips.

Aztec Trail Mix

Martin first ate bugs in Mexico where chapulines—or seasoned grasshoppers—are a popular snack. This mix uses authentic-to-Mexico ingredients (except the goji berries) to create a cricket-based snack.

1 cup frozen crickets
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds (often called pepitas)
1/2 cup goji berries (can be substituted with dried blueberries, cranberries, or raisins)
1/4 cup cacao nibs
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cayenne
Olive or canola oil for the baking sheet

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lightly grease the sheet with the oil.

Remove your crickets from the freezer and rinse them thoroughly in a colander.

Place the crickets on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and cayenne. Bake in the oven checking them in five-minute intervals. Keep a close eye on the crickets as they do burn easily. However, it’s probably better to err on the side of overcooked than undercooked.

Once cooled, toss the crickets with the pepitas, goji berries and cacao nibs.

Read More

Free Newsletters

Dispatch This week's featured articles, reviews, and videos. Sent twice weekly.
News From the Field The most important breaking news from around the Web. Sent daily.
Outside GOOur hottest adventure-travel tips and trips. Sent occasionally.
Outside Partners Outside-approved deals and special offers from select partners. Sent occasionally.

Subscribe
to Outside
Save Over
70%

Magazine Cover

iPad Outside+ App Access Now Included!

Categories

Authors

Advertisement

$ad.smallDesc

$ad.smallDesc

$ad.smallDesc

Previous Posts

2014

2013

2012

Blog Roll

Current Issue Outside Magazine

Subscribe and get a great deal! Two free Buyer's Guides plus a free GoLite Sport Bottle. Monthly delivery of Outside—your ultimate resource for today's active lifestyle. All that and big savings!

Free Newsletters

Dispatch This week's featured articles, reviews, and videos. Sent twice weekly.
News From the Field The most important breaking news from around the Web. Sent daily.
Gear of the Day The latest products, reviews, and editors' picks. Coming soon.
Outside Partners Outside-approved deals and special offers from select partners. Sent occasionally.

Ask a Question

Our gear experts await your outdoor-gear-related questions. Go ahead, ask them anything.

* We might edit your question for length or clarity. If it's not about gear, we'll just ignore it.