Mopane Worms are not, in fact, worms at all. They’re large caterpillars — yet to become giant Emperor Moths. In Southern Africa, they’re an important foodstuff for millions of people. Like to give them a try? Mopane Worms taste a little like leaves. This is due to their diet — which is, in the main, the leaves of the Mopane Tree. If this doesn’t sound weird enough, consider how they’re harvested.
Mopane Worms are hand-picked, often by women and children, who pinch their tails hard to rupture their innards. They’re then squeezed like a tube of toothpaste in order to expel their guts. Only then are they ready to prepare and preserve. The caterpillars are either dried in the hot sun or smoked for flavour.
Some like to eat them raw, as a crunchy dried snack, whilst others prefer to buy them canned in brine from the supermarket, before adding to dishes as a rich protein source. Either way, for those uninitiated, eating Mopane Worms could not seem much weirder.
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