Of Coffee With Mopane Worms

**Trigger advisory For The Squirmish : Contains images and reference to worms

If you were having coffee with me, I would say a happy new month and lets check out what this new folder has in store for us…

 I would offer you a piece of poetry as a snack….

mopane worms

These are known as mopane worms commonly found in Southern Africa, while some households would consider them to be an alternative source of cheap protein, you can find them in fancy restaurants presented as a delicacy. I have also seen an episode of Fear Factor where people struggled to eat them and I laughed and laughed.

Mopane worms are so-called because they predominatly feed on the leaves of the Mopane tree. They are also known as madora (Shona) macimbi (Ndebele) …if you know any other names kindly drop them. Speaking of names I think they would experience a better reception had they been known by a more fancy term instead of calling them worms.

Technically they are not worms they are caterpillar or the larvae stage of the emperor moth Gonimbrasia belina. The larvae then pupate for 6 to 7 months in winter to emerge as moths. The adult moths live only for three to four days with a singular focus to mate and lay eggs.

The eggs hatch into larva in a few weeks and begin munching on the leaves of trees, moulting four times through five larval stages. Provided there is adequate rainfall the mopane worm trigger a regeneration effect in the foliage keeping the environment balanced.

Mopane Worms
Mopane Worms

When we were cooking the caterpillar my mum referred to them as poetry after I showed her my framed poetry from The Metamorphosis Of Ayo. The poetry follows the life cycle of a butterfly; egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly. Yes, you can call me a framed poet ^_^

framed poetry
Framed Poetry

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that I much prefer having the mopane worm as a snack than as a relish with sadza (that’s our staple carbohydrate meal). An interesting thing about this particular batch of mopane worms is that they were handpicked by my sister from a location somewhere in remote Gwanda where the are mopane worm fields. To harvest them from there you make a payment of one bucket of mopane worms.

There’s surprisingly well-coordinated mopane worm harvesting fields and they even monitor the quantities letting people know they have reached the harvest threshold that ensure that there’s sufficient caterpillar to mature into adulthood and lay eggs ensuring the continuity of the life cycle. The caterpillar are squeezed to empty out their tummies and then dried for preservation. One can then sell these dried caterpillar or cook them as and when necessary.

dried mopane worms

How do you cook them? The simplest method is to soak them in water to soften them (as they will have dried up) then boil for about 15 then rinse out or add more water and boil for another 20 minutes, drain water and add cooking oil and fry till crispy… add onions, tomatoes and seasoning and serve as desired.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that my sister had intended to market the mopane worms at the just-ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo. Unfortunately, the harvest this season was not that bountiful to have a marketable quantity. She had also wanted to exhibit an African candy made from baobab tree fruit…. Have you seen the likes of these:

baobab candy
Baobab Fruit Candy

We missed out on the ZITF but from the feedback, looks like it was quite the lit affair although the one thing I was happy to miss was the mascot for the new local TV channel Jive TV called Jaiva… It was a tad freaky looking and I cant imagine a whole broadcaster had this wannabe Sesame Street reject as its mascot. Maybe its still an ugly worm and will one day wake up a butterfly.

Jive Tv mascot Jaiva
Jaiva the Jive TV Mascot credit ZBC

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that Elon Musk bought Twitter and has joked (at least I hope he was joking about buying Coca-Cola so he could put the cocaine back in it)

Next I’m buying Coca-Cola to put the cocaine back in
Elon Musk
Elon Musk

Well, while we are there, maybe he can buy our TV station and get them to stop broadcasting entirely, if he were particularly inclined he could even revamp… or better yet maybe he could buy the whole country… We do have a campaign to Buy Zimbabwe after all ^_^ (well its suppose to be for the promotion of buying local goods but hey… one can try, one can try)

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that we had the Afrobloggers Meetup on Zoom and it was a delight to connect with some of the people who have been part of our inaugural blogging fellowship check out the articles below if you have a moment:

Mwanaa: Moving to my New Apartment
Nangamso: Welcome to soullitude with Nangamso

Afrobloggers virtual meetup

Whats been going on in your neck of the woods?

~B

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26 Comments

  1. Curious are those mopani worms fuzzy ? That would be the only turn off for me not to try it. My wife would probably gag if I showed her the picture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are not fuzzy… they are rather hard and crunchy. 👀 TMI?
      And I suppose once one mentions the word worms it makes them sound… eeeky too… A re-brand would do them good 🤔
      They are highly nutritious too… And there’s something about nutritious food not being like pizza or cake 🤣

      Cheers to the new month Matt
      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well okay no fuzzy means I’d try it, but the black color is slightly off-putting. But I’ve had snails and squid in its own ink and a lot of people over here find those to be repulsive

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Squid in its own ink sounds a tad tricky havent run into it as yet but I have had snail and was surprisingly not bad once got past the idea of snails…
        ~B

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Really dude, pictures and pictures of worms? I got grossed out just reading about it!

    If anyone could buy Zimbabwe, Musk is the man. I thought about it, but realized I’d make a terrible dictator and besides, it would probably be WAY more work than I want to deal with. So you’re safe for now! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Would calling them caterpillar instead of worms helped?
      Hmmm I should put an advisory warning at the top of the post 🤔.

      And as to buying the country, yep legend has it that close to century ago a king once sold the land after tasting a teaspoon of refined sugar… OK not just sugar but the amenities of “civilization” in exchange for what was purported to be a mining ….
      So best being careful what one wishes for 😅

      Cheers
      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I might have laughed a bit too much over that… 🙊
        Whats the benchmark for the weirdest dish you voluntarily eat (possibly even enjoy) 🍲
        ~B

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Peanut butter, mayonnoise and cheddar cheese sandwich.

        Besides the worms, what’s your weirdest thing? (I can’t believe I just wrote that! 🙂 )

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh but thats a regular snack/ sandwich😂

        for starters stewed beef in peanut butter sauce then innards of a cow and its just a regular Tuesday.

        ~B

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Reading this reminded me of the grasshopper season back in Uganda. At first sight though, I wondered how on earth you weather holding a caterpillar and voluntarily lead it towards your tongue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The trick is not to think too much about what it is and where its been and if it signed release forms that you could partake of its crunchy goodness 😂
      The grasshopper thats nsenene right ? I remember reading about how the last season started late or something of the sort… then there was the viral video of enterprising entrepreneur who was selling nsenene aboard an airline.
      The grasshopper are definitely on my menu bucketlist ^_^

      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

  4. 1. No, peanut butter and mayo and cheese is NOT a regular snack/sandwich. These ingredients together just don’t make any sense.
    2.”Mopani Angels” I love that!
    3. Actually, the first photo of the worms does not look bad. When I think of worms, I think of white/lightly colored, so I thought these were burned and wanted to ask if you didn’t mind that.
    4. TOMATOES with worms? That just sounds odd. I think salt should be sufficient.
    5. If they were soft/gooey and/or hairy, I can see how that texture would make things easier but if they are crunchy, then I probably would give it a go.
    6. I did not enjoy the photo of them alive – for some reason, the orange/red/yellow coloring makes me think they are poisonous, so I wouldn’t be keen on seeing that.
    7. Baobab tree fruit? How does that taste? Sounds and looks awesome!

    Like

  5. Great post, B. I enjoyed the thread too. I tried mopane worms in a restaurant in Cape Town once, they were crunchy and a bit boring I thought. I brought those I didn’t eat home in a doggy bag for my chickens, but they turned their beaks up at them! Both they and I much prefer snails (although I like mine cooked with garlic butter).

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      1. Well, it wasn’t awful. It was salty and in my country of Jamaica I am used to salty. I tried it because I’m open to trying new experiences and foods, delicacies whatever. Am I eager to try it again, probably not? 😊.

        Like

  6. We call them vinkubala here in Zambia. I don’t eat them because I imagine them coming alive and crawling in my mouth😃. But yes they are a delicacy here in Southern Africa.

    Who mentioned grasshoppers? Let us merge our countries.

    Each season in Africa brings with it new foods. This could be fruits, insects or anything. Whatever you’re presented with, try it because it really is food in due season.

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    1. interesting, oh yes they are also known as masonja/masonzha somewhat similar to the one you mention.

      hahaha wait how do you know you cant stand the taste if you forgot what they taste like… but they have a sort of acquired taste and you need to have a sort of chewing technique otherwise they will scrap the inside of you cheeks and your tongue

      ~B

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