We discovered Bitty Foods years ago at the TEDx Manhattan conference, and we were blown away by the idea of consuming crickets in a cookie. Presenting crickets ground up as flour is a great way of opening people up to the concept of bugs as a sustainable protein source. Since then, the company has developed a savory Chiridos snack and an all-purpose, gluten-free baking flour that can be used one-to-one for regular flour. It turns out crickets also tie into our food waste theme from the previous post, as Megan explained they actually consume compostable fruit and vegetable scraps and leftover whey from dairy making. They do not even require a water source since they extract enough from those foods they are processing. Furthermore, eating crickets has many health benefits as listed on Bitty’s website: “cricket flour is a tasty source of sustainable nutrition, packed with protein, healthy fats and micronutrients.”
We wanted to incorporate this unique product into something from our pastry kitchen and open up our customers to the concept. So we had one of the company’s founders, Megan Miller, come by and experiment with some savory gluten-free cracker options we could offer instead of bread to gluten-sensitive guests. We got busy mixing up a seeded cracker dough and a batter for a parmesan chive pizelle. Megan explained that the flour can be used one-to-one for regular flour, but that it still has it’s own unique qualities. It tends to soak up more moisture than normal flour and can need a bit of extra browning when baking to mask the cricket flavor. Cricket flavor it turns out is umami and a bit metallic like liver. Also to mask that inherent flavor we added extra parmesan cheese to the batter and extra fresh herbs like tarragon and oregano. The result was a delicious gluten-free pizelle that we sampled out to the PRINT staff. They knew the pizelles contained cricket flour, and could not resist having seconds!
At the end of the day Bitty foods is a part of a unique movement of forward-thinking food product makers that we are eager to support. At the NYC Food Waste Conference I discovered Toast ale being made out of leftover bread scraps and in the reverse, Rise flour being made out of spent brewing grain. As our environment and its natural resources continue to be taxed, these types of eco-concious and zero-waste products are going to become more relevant and prevalent. We are just thrilled that they also happen to be delicious!