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People in Israel Really Are Eating Swarming Locusts

While there are simply too many locusts to eat the swarm out of existence, Israelis who do tuck in can enjoy a healthy, kosher snack

They’re healthy; they’re plentiful; they’re kosher. Just in time for Passover, some Israelis are taking advantage of a swarm of locusts flying in from Egypt to whip up a unique holiday snack. The versatile insects, which are a couple inches long, are apparently equally tasty breaded and fried or covered in molten chocolate.

Israel has been dealing with the swarm for the past couple weeks, the BBC reports. Locusts can eat their body weight in a farmer’s crops per day, so innovative humans have decided to turn the tide on the hungry pests by eating them.

Eucalyptus, a fancy restaurant in Jerusalem, for example, has a particular interest in ancient Biblical food, according to the BBC. The chef there, Moshe Basson, recommends cooks “drop them into a boiling broth, clean them off, and roll in a mixture of flour, coriander seeds, garlic and chilli powder. Then deep-fry them.” He adds that they can also be mixed with caramel and pan-fried as a crunchy, sweet snack. The BBC continues:

Locusts are usually hard to source in Israel and Basson has to get them from a specialist lab. But nothing, he says, beats freshly gathered, locally sourced, wild ones.

Locusts that have feasted on sesame plants acquire an oily, shiny tinge, and are said to be particularly delicious.

Locust is the only kosher insect, and the Torah states that red, yellow, spotted grey and white locusts are fine for eating. Rabbi Ari Zivotofsky told the BBC, however, that he regularly fields calls from concerned Jews about whether or not everyone can eat locusts, or only those Yemenite and North African Jews who had a tradition of eating them. For Jews in Europe, the tradition likely died out since locusts rarely make their way that far north. But that doesn’t mean Ashkenazi Jews can’t enjoy locusts, he says.

While there are simply too many locusts to eat the swarm out of existence, Israelis who do tuck in will enjoy a healthy—and reportedly delicious—source of zinc, iron and protein.

More from Smithsonian.com:

A Plague of Locusts Descends Upon the Holy Land, Just in Time for Passover 
Cooking With the Bible 

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