By The Editor
Mopane worms are a staple part of Zimbabwe’s diets and are considered a delicacy. When dried, the worms can as crunchy as potato chips. When cooked, they can be delicious as a sauce.
Welcome to the tasty and nutritious snack in Zimbabwe. The following is a scoop on the mouthwatering mopane worms.
Mopane worm derived its name from the leaves of the trees it feeds one-Mopane trees. It hatches after summer and is a large caterpillar said to be from the Gonimbrasia belina species. Within a few weeks of growth, the worms can be as thick as a cigar and as long as human fingers.
They are mostly found in rural Gwanda in southern Zimbabwe and are common during the rainy season.
After being harvested from the trees, the worms are squeezed to remove their insides. They are then left to dry ready for cooking or transportation to the market.
The worms are so popular such that during the harvest season the local market is abuzz with activities. They are displayed in a fashioned way and strategically alongside the vendor’s stalls so that customers can see.
Free samples are also offered by the vendors. Mopane worms are classified according to the area they were harvested from and size. Buyers are so choosy to the extent that they prefer worms from certain localities over others, citing the difference in taste.
The worms are believed to be a healthy, cheap and great source of nutrition. The locals even say that eating the worms is less taxing on the environment compared to other sources of meat since it takes less resources to produce them.
The worms are said to be tastier and can be taken as a starter dish or eaten alongside other meals. Former Malawian President Hastings Kamuzu was renowned to have a fetish for the worms and was publicly spotted eating them on several occasions.