We have all been made aware of the fact that insects are consumed as food in most parts of the world. Apparently, eating insects is going to become commonplace in the western world at some point in the future. But for now, the custom of eating insects is certainly a foreign custom to Americans. Most Americans may be under the impression that the habit of eating insects only exists in the farthest regions of the world. However, south of the border, in Mexico, a particular type of ant larva has been considered a delicacy for centuries. You would be surprised at how popular this edible larvae has always been among Mexicans. The ant larvae are referred to as “escamoles,” and they don’t come cheap.
The consumption of escamoles dates all the way back to the period of the Aztecs, and probably before. In order to capture this particularly tasty species of ant larvae, it is necessary to venture into the Mexican mountains. The larvae are notorious for being hard to locate. Due to the amount of work involved with securing escamoles, Mexican “escamoleros” sell these insects at high prices. This means escamoles are only affordable to the most affluent members of Mexican society. Some regions of Mexico are so poor that citizens hunt and sell ant larvae in order to survive. For example, in the Potosí highlands, economic opportunities are so scarce that nearly the entire population thrives off of the sale of ant larvae. The average annual earnings for escamoleros in this region is around 8,800 pesos per year. This is a paltry sum as it only equals a little more than five hundred US dollars per year. Those who collect the larvae get to taste what they find, which certainly makes them happy. So the next time you visit Mexico, give ant larvae a try.
Had you ever heard of escamoles before? Would you be willing to eat a few escamoles if given the chance?