Thursday, 26 June 2014

Ant pupae nibble

One of my favourite Ray Mears programme was the one he did from Belarus (back in the day when he did bushcraft shows). In it he sourced and prepared some ant pupae to eat.

I upended an olive tree from it's pot to replace some of the soil with fresh stuff, it soon became clear that I'd inadvertently tipped out a large ant nest at the same time. I watched  the ants mobilise and soon they were taking the exposed pupae to a plan b secondary nest (a gap in the paving slabs). I decided to get my camera as well as a zebra billy can insert and, as Ray had, sample some. By the time I'd got back they had really got themselves sorted and there weren't many left, and even those that I put into the tray were being taken!

I had a measly five pupae plus one that was deposited under the shade of an old trowel that  I found at the bottom of the pot (so that's where it went!) I'd upturned it to provide some shade near the gap in the slabs and I found a solitary one deposited in there. It was almost as if the ants had said 'That's all you are getting'.

After I cleaned them up and removed the last few ants I put them in some oil on a medium heat for 'a minute or two'. I may have done them a tad too long although Ray gets a real sizzle going with his which I avoided, as I did the sugar that he added. The taste I got was sort of similar to erm popcorn...not the shrimp that Ray and his sound man got, maybe due to being different types of ant?).

Talking of which, I had to remove an old flag stone and, almost predictably, there as a massive ants nest underneath. Whilst they set about moving the pupae I was a bit quicker off the mark than last time and got more of a sizable amount. It was noticeable how much smaller they were than the previous ones and this time, like Ray, I added some sugar. I still didn't get a full on shrimp flavour but there you go.

 This is the link to see the master at work here.

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