MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: What are some edible dishes that can be made with earthworms?

Date: Wed May 23 19:52:21 2001
Posted By: Phyllis Stumbo, Staff, Nutrition, University of Iowa
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 990485920.Zo

How to prepare earthworms for eating.

I am not an expert on preparing bugs and worms for eating, but from 
reports I have read, eating them could make the difference between 
surviving and perishing in a primitive environment.  The military teaches 
that eating bugs and worms is an important survival skill when trapped in 
enemy territory.  One important point is that while there are poisonous 
plants (never eat a wild mushroom), all living animals are safe to eat.  
You can read a bit about military survival skills at  Below is an excerpt from 
this site:

“According to the chief, the forest offers iron-gut gourmets an all-you-
can-eat buffet, adding that insects supply a bounty of vitamins, proteins 
and minerals. Says Greeson: “Worms taste like dirt, but you can purge them 
by soaking them in water overnight. Then they taste like worm, which isn’t 
a big improvement.”

Purging worms before eating seems to be advised of everyone who has eaten 
worms.  If soaking them overnight accomplishes the purge, then I would 
begin every recipe with an over-night purge.  I actually found a recipe 
for earthworms, but it is more humorous than helpful.  The recipe included 
onion, mushrooms and sour cream, ingredients you are unlikely to have on 
hand in the wild.  But if you are interested in the weird check out the 
recipe “Natural Treat – Earthworms” under the main dish section at the web 

A few of us discussed eating earthworms and decided we would prefer ours 
fried and preferably until they are crisp.  There are instructions for 
drying meat in the wild at   Drying earthworms to 
reduce their sliminess and stop them from spoiling seems a much more 
practical solution than turning them into a sour cream dish to serve over 
rice or spaghetti.  But the first task would be to overcome aversions most 
people have to eating worms and bugs.

Other recipes that might work with earthworms are chili (use prepared 
earthworms instead of hamburger) and spaghetti (earth worms for ground 
beef in the sauce).  But these are guesses on my part.  

I am sorry I don’t have practical experience to share with you (or perhaps 
I am not so sorry about that).  Good luck on your educational project, it 
sounds like an interesting one!

Dr. Phyllis J. Stumbo
University of Iowa

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