ויקרא יא כב
את-אלה מהם, תאכלו--את-הארבה למינו,
ואת-הסלעם למינהו; ואת-החרגל למינהו, ואת-החגב למינהו
...even these of them you may eat: the locust after
its kinds, and the bald locust after its kinds, and the cricket after its kinds,
and the grasshopper after its kinds.
משנה תורה, הלכות מאכלות אסורות
א, כב מי שהוא בקי
בהן ובשמותיהן, אוכל; והצייד נאמן עליהן, כעוף
ט,ה דגים וחגבים, מותר לאוכלן בחלב
Mishneh Torah, Laws of Prohibited Foods
1:22 One who is an expert with them and with their
names [may] eat [them - locusts]; a hunter [can be] trusted regarding them, like
9:5 ...fish and locusts, it is
permissible to eat them with milk
Locusts were the last course at the Se'udath Halachah several years ago. The chef sauteed the locusts, after having removed the head and front legs. Like fish, locusts do not require shehitah. The chef described the taste something like Bissli* (grill flavor).
Yemenites have often been associated with the only Jews who still eat locusts. Yet, Current Sephadi Chief Rabbi Ammar has recounted that while growing up in Morrocco, he was aware of some Jewish clans that had a tradition of eating them as well.
I know of at least one resident of K'far Tapu'ah who has eaten them,...openly. Walking along a path outside of the town, he found a particular insect. He showed it to the rav who was with him, and asked him if it was kasher, this rav having been a talmid muvhaq of Rav Yosef Qafah ztz”l. The rav examined it, and said that it was. The Tapu'ah resident then took out his lighter, lit the insect on fire, quicly blew it out, and ate it. (Look for the K'far Tapu'ah town council to deny this, of course!)
A couple of friends of mine had planned to raise locusts, and sell them commercially. They ordered locusts from a laboratory in Haifa, which they received, and were in contact with the same rav mentioned above, about acquiring a kashruth certfication.
Unfortunately, there were a few mishaps, like the car with the locusts inside of it getting stolen and one mother getting upset by a few of them getting out of their cage.
So, for now, their ideas for commercial locust sales are postponed.
Once every few years, there are locust storms in the south near Eilat. At night, the locusts are more or less immobile, due to the cold temperature. So, they can be easily gathered, and put into sacks. But in this day and age, I would probably prefer raised instead of wild. Who knows what kind of toxins from our polluted environment they might have ingested in the wild?
When I bring this up, I am always asked the same question. Would I actually eat one of these things?
Yep. I think that I actually would.
*Bissli is an Israeli snack food made from wheat.