Quite often you find big white grubs (beetle larvae) in your temperate or tropical compost. Some people are disgusted and some people are worried if they somehow are dangerous or bad for your garden. The best option is to leave them in the compost where they participate in the production of soil. A common simplification is that worms are the only degraders in your compost. In addition to worms, there are also fungi, bacteria, protozoans, millipeds and… beetle grubs. Some grubs in the family Scarabaeidae are edible. The Seehamongkol family may eat selected green adult beetles which they catch with light traps, but in my childhood in Sweden I learnt from the local entomological society how to cook their larvae:
1. Simply throw the larvae in boiling water to kill them.
2. After a few seconds, pour out the larva, cool them down with cold water and cut them open using a pair of scissors.
3. Remove the black guts and rinse in water.
4. Heat some butter in a frying pan and fry the grubs.
5. Serve on toast and eat with knife and fork (my suggestion). Like with giant crickets, you may want to cover the grubs with cheese which you quickly melt. Add salt.
The flavour is mushroomy, but the meat is very chewy, spare the crunchy legs and the shield above the head.
White creatures are scarabaeid grubs, brown creatures are their pupae. If you do not like to eat them, others will. Feed them to your pigs or chicken, or let them live as a part of your thriving garden. ‘Skarabeios’ is Greek meaning ‘beetle’.
Text & Photo: Eric Danell