Can You Eat Earthworms
You can eat earthworms. Some people consider them a delicacy, while others simply enjoy the experience of eating something that is still alive. However, make sure that they are clean and free of any dirt or debris and cook them thoroughly to kill any bacteria or parasites.
Earthworms are known for eating animal wastes, as well as uncooked soil that has everything in it, so do not eat any Earthworms uncooked. If you are keeping Earthworms as pets, you can feed them with a mix of leftover vegetables and fruits as well as moist soil. While they can easily be dug up from a lot of places, they are also effective at being picked from the soil after heavy rainfalls. Earthworms eat soil, which is crushed up inside their gizzard, then waste is expelled in castings from the back of their body.
It is not earthworms themselves, it is fetid material from the soil where they live, like in back yards where pets use as toilets. The humble earthworm lives in the soil beneath your yard, is plump, pink, and little kids will often try to eat it (before adults can tell them not to). These slimy creatures can be eaten raw or cooked, particularly by young children, who are invariably drawn to earthworms. In addition to land-dwelling earthworms, humans living near the sea also eat a type of seaworm that is spiny, sometimes called the ocean gut.
You might not want to gnaw on an earthworm directly out of your yard, but eating other types of worms is quite common across cultures around the world. Despite the stigma attached to them in Western cultures, many species of worms can be eaten, and are actually consumed as a regular part of diets in many countries. I reviewed a number of sources from the scientific literature in the course of my research, and found that although the idea of eating worms might not sound appealing to Western cultures, in other parts of the world, worms have a varied and long history of being used as food sources. There are numerous other parts of the world in which people have consumed earthworms for years (source).
Many of the same arguments one might make for eating insects could also be made about eating earthworms, except that the arguments are stronger (although personally, I would not consider earthworms as food to save the planet, nor insects. As Allison Baitz points out in this NPR piece, populations who never have eaten earthworms will actually struggle with the idea of sticking a worm into their mouth.
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Although they look similar, do not mistake earthworms, which are edible to humans, for roundworms, which are pests that infect humans. Earthworms live by themselves as a free species, eating substances found in the soil, while a roundworm is a parasite that lives and feeds inside the body of humans. Generally, when eating earthworms, soil is first removed from the worms intestines, and it is cooked using boiling, baking, or other methods to a temperature that is enough to kill most of the parasites.
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When cooking earthworms for eating, it is best to make sure that they are thoroughly cooked in order to remove any parasites that live in the soil that they are eating. When prepping your earthworms for eating, always make sure you rinse and dry them, doing so helps to remove any slimy ooze. Earthworms and Red Wriggler Worms are completely safe to handle with bare hands, although washing your hands is probably wiser before eating the next food item.
Avoid picking worms up and eating them outdoors, just because you never know where they were from, or what dangerous substances they might be carrying. You should only attempt to eat Worms that are raised specifically to be eaten by humans, and are known to have been fed parasite-free foods, which can keep them from carrying pests inside. Yes, you can consume Sago Worms live and raw, and many people actually do eat Sago Worms raw, preferring it not cooked.
Sago worms are amongst the most safe insects to consume raw because they are living, eating, drinking, and are just surrounding themselves with the palm of the sago tree. Although the tree, sago palm, and worms living in it are highly toxic for pets, sago worms are an excellent option to give to your pets if cooked correctly. Eating sago worms raw, or live, may let the larvae bite you with the pincers that they use to munch their way through sago wood. Do not place Eisenia fetida earthworms in your backyard, as this is not their natural habitat, and they likely will not survive.
We generally consider earthworms as beneficial for soil, however, when introduced into areas that did not previously have earthworms, these invasive species can cause damage, particularly in forests, where decomposing actions in the leaf litter may change the ecology such that it makes the environment inhospitable for some trees and plants. We do know that earthworms are beneficial to soils and enhance nutrient availability, providing more stable soil structures, and that their maggot casts contain nitrogen, which is ready for nutrients to NOURISH plants. They also contain fertility and micronutrients, though the amounts vary depending on the soil from which the worms are harvested. Earthworms are pale-almost-pink, slimy, segmented, soil-eating insects which provide lots of nutrients if eaten.
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Earthworms are common land-dwelling invertebrates in the family Annilidae, known as looped worms or segmented worms. Earthworms can also provide livestock with a valuable source of high-protein fodder, and, of course, are fish food. They are also important in the food chain, providing great protein to their predators, and enriching soils with their poop and excrement. Earthworms are also high in calcium, eaten by indigenous peoples of the Amazon, New Zealand, and parts of China.
Well, not only do earthworms actually have a strong taste for soil, and they have exactly that sort of slimy-wriggly-wormy quality that triggers the “yuck” response, worms are very strongly associated with pests in our minds. Of course, so are all kinds of bacteria, so, you might want to think twice about running out into your yard to scrounge up some earthworms for nibbling, and whether you might want to try and keep your dogs from eating them, if at all. That is, Bear Grylls of Survival School reports that you can clean the earthworms by submerging them in water, then eating them raw, in a survival situation. Like most things on this list, the worms may carry potential parasites – and the parasite potential should be what drives you to prepare them in the first place.
What happens if you eat earthworms?
They are a good source of protein, iron (Fe), and amino acids, which help with digestion and tissue repair. They also include copper(Cu), manganese (Mg), and zinc (Zn). Earthworms provide about the same amount of calcium as fresh cheese or cow’s milk.
Can eating an earthworm hurt you?
In a pinch, worms can be consumed raw, but if at all feasible, boil them first. They could be parasite carriers, much like the majority of the items on this list, which is why you should prepare them first. Forget the horrifying thought of consuming a live worm.