In the countryside of Zimbabwe, fried beetles have become a sought after delicacy for locals. The chafer beetle, also called the Christmas beetle, is a dark-red bug, served at this time of year.
Earnmore Chikavaza lives in Mhondoro, a village about 100 kilometres (60 miles) southwest of the capital Harare. Three weeks of heavy rain have made it too dangerous to venture into the mining tunnels, so he spends time with a bowl in his hands, shaking beetles out of the trees for food.
Chikavaza takes his harvest to a local lady, Winnie Chikaonda, 72, who helps him cook the insects.
“First we pluck off the wings then immerse them in water and boil the beetles. We boil them for some time and remove the water, then add fresh water and boil again. The process is repeated and on the third time, some cooking oil and salt is added. After that, they are dried and are ready to eat”, Earnmore Chikavaza, a Farmer said.
The recipe for the meal is simple, the beetles are boiled until soft and then fried until they reach the desired level of crunchiness.
“We gather as many as we can and dry them up to store them in the same manner as dried vegetables, for use later. We eat them as relish during main meals or as a snack”, Winnie Chikaonda, the 72-year old local resident said.
This traditional healer talks of the benefits of food that is healthy, tasty and organic.
“They are highly nutritious and medicinal. As a traditional healer, we use parts of the tree to treat various ailments, and so our bodies benefit a lot from eating the beetles”, MacDonald Pfupa said.
In Zimbabwean towns, food tastes have become westernized, but in the countryside, there is still a time-honored tradition of eating insects, mopani worms and white ants.