Would You Try Ant-Flavored Potato Chips?

Finding ants in your sandwich would normally be a good enough reason to call off any picnic, but scientists now say that a handful of insects might be the secret ingredient your lunch needs. Researchers have found that common black ants can be a good substitute for protein and are filled with nutrients. If your planning on doing your own taste test, experts say you should choose your ants carefully. While some are delicious, other ants can have a pretty bad aftertaste and can present allergy problems. While ants are rarely eaten in the United States, around the world they are widely used as a valuable source of protein, and even seen as a delicacy in some areas. In Mexico, ants are either roasted whole as a crunchy snack, or ground up and used to flavor other foods. Common black ants, like those you might find in your garden, have a pungent, sharp, vinegary flavor, which is caused by the high amounts of formic acid that give the ants’ bite its sting. Chicatana ants from Mexico don’t secret any formic acid, so they have a flavor that’s nutty, woody, and fatty. They also produce a rich odor caused by the same chemicals found in baking bread. Weaver ants, on the other hand, have a nutty, sweet flavor and a caramel-like aroma. Unfortunately, they have an aftertaste of hay and urine due to a high concentration of amines, a type of ammonia. Researchers warn that ants contain high levels of a protein called Tropomyosin, which is one of the main triggers for shellfish and crustacean allergies. Researchers say they’re not suggesting that people give up traditional food in favor of eating ants, but are just making us aware that ants can actually taste very good, while being very nutritious.