My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How Zimbabwe and South Africa Ackee and Stinkbug a potential hit in Jamaica

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

How Zimbabwe and South Africa Ackee and Stinkbug a potential hit in Jamaica

I've always wondered why Jamaica has Ackee and Saltfish as the national dish as we don't even have codfish in our waters. The Saltfish in our national dish is imported and the National dish is really a holdover from slavery days.

My landlady pointed out to me that you don't need to use Saltfish which sell for almost JA$500 a pound in Jamaica; mackerel or even Red Herring can be used as a substitute. I'd really go for some kidney and Ackee right now, as they're falling off the tree like crazy.

But what about using the Stinkbug (Encosternum delegorguei)? Can that be a replacement for Saltfish?

How to make Ackee and Stinkbug - Zimbabwe and South Africa solution to Chicken, Pork and Egg Shortage in Jamaica

In parts of rural Zimbabwe and South Africa the Stinkbug (Encosternum delegorguei) is eaten as a spicy delicacy as reported in the article “Eat your Stinkbugs: They’re good for you”, published March 7th 2016 by Sarah Schwartz, Science News.

Researchers have discovered that Stinkbug (Encosternum delegorguei) are a good source of protein that complements rice and grains in these African nations.  Researchers discovered that on examining freeze-dried Stinkbugs, they contain the following benefits

1.      Protein
2.      9 essential amino acids
3.      Cholesterol-lowering fatty acids
4.      Antioxidants

This is mainly due to the fact that the Stinkbug (Encosternum delegorguei), which are aphids, drink the sap of many flowering plants and are considered to be pest in the Western hemisphere.

However in Zimbabwe and South Africa the light green insects, which are 25 mm (0.98 in) in length are consider to be a delicacy. This is good as Africa’s rapidly growing population is going to need a lot of food come 2100 as pointed out in my blog article entitled “United Nations Population Division says 11.2 billion people by 2100 - Why Africa and India Population exploding as Insect Meat is coming”.  

In South Africa they are called “thongolifha” or “tsonônô” and in Zimbabwe, they are known as “harurwa” or “harugwa”. The Stinkbug (Encosternum delegorguei) are collected just before dawn, when they are asleep and easier to catch.

Care is taken not to kill them and any dead stink bugs are removed. Then the live bugs are placed in a bucket with some hot water and stirred, this causes them to panic, releasing all of their defense chemicals in alarm that creates the stink and makes the bugs unpalatable.

This is why live Stinkbug (Encosternum delegorguei) are preferred; it's impossible to remove the defense chemicals that cause the stink and makes them taste bitter. This process is repeated multiple times until all their defense chemicals are drained and they're ready to be cooked. The Stinkbug (Encosternum delegorguei) are usually braised with salt and eaten as a spicy delicacy by the Zimbabweans and South Africans.

However there is a danger, aside from the stink glands, which are easily removed. When collected by shaking them out of a tree, they are usually stored in traditional wooden baskets or in grain bags pick.

This causes low levels of a cancer-causing fungus toxin to grow. Storing the bugs in a vacuum sealed container as described in my blog article entitled “Preserving Food at MICO - How to make Vegetables, Eggs and Shordy Bread last forever” or a ziplocked bag will keep them longer and reduce the formation of the toxic fungus.

Stinkbug (Encosternum delegorguei) may potentially be a solution to Jamaica's Pork, Chicken and Egg shortage which is expected to last till Easter 2016 as prophesied in my blog article entitled “How the Drought of 2015 means higher prices for Jamaican Christmas 2015 and Easter 2016”. 

So Stinkbug (Encosternum delegorguei) with Ackee anyone?

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