Did you know that earthworms can be a nutritious addition to the human diet? Apparently, they contain sixty to seventy percent protein and are very low in fat. Think I'm kidding? I'm not - see Chapter Eleven in The Worm Book by Loren Nancarrow and Janet Hogan Taylor (Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, 1998). Here you will learn how to cook with earthworms - or as the French call them Ver de terre. It appears that not even the humble earthworm is safe from human abuse!
This is how it is recommended that they should be prepared and cooked:
After purging the worms wash them in cold water. Then plunge the live worms into a pan of boiling water and cook for 15 minutes. Drain the worms. Repeat the boiling procedure, at least one more time, in order to remove all of the mucus from their bodies. After boiling, the worms can be chopped into pieces and used in casseroles - instead of chicken or beef.
Alternatively, the worms can be baked in the oven. Freeze the worms first. This kills them and stops them from wriggling off the baking tray! But defrost the worms thoroughly, before baking in the oven at 200 degrees F, for 30 minutes. The dry worms can then be ground into a protein-rich flour. Use this instead of normal flour in baked goods, such as bread, cakes, muffins etc. Dried chopped worms can also be used instead of raisins or nuts! Chapter Eleven also contains a selection of earthworm recipes. How about Worm' N Apple Cake, Apricot-Earthworm Balls, Oatmeal Earthworm-Raisin Muffins or a tasty Earthworm Scramble? Note: Many of these recipes contain eggs and cheese, as well as earthworms, so they are definitely not for vegans!
They have a central nervous system, consisting of a brain (suprapharyngeal ganglion) and two nerves which receive impulses from special sensory cells in the skin. They can suddenly contract their whole body in response to unfavourable stimulation of these cells. I am sure that being dropped into boiling water, whilst still a live, is not a pleasant experience for them.
In Singapore and Malaysia, those earthworms cleaned and grinded into powder before use. Above is a dish called Laksa which earthworms are said to be used for the gravy. Not sure how true this is.