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Chad Merritt
Chad Merritt

Where Can I Buy Silkworms PORTABLE

Silkworm pupae is a traditional delicacy in northeastern China, where they are sold as street food on skewers to be deep fried. I am told they taste a bit like shrimp shells. The flesh inside is tasteless, like firm bean curd, but is scrumptiously spiced. Living pupae bought from markets can emerge as white moths and head for the nearest mulberry tree, which is their only sustenance.

where can i buy silkworms

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There are many legends about the discovery of silkworms. This the one I like best: In 3,000 B.C, Empress Leizu, wife of the mythical Yellow Emperor, was sipping tea under a mulberry tree when a cocoon suddenly dropped into her steaming tea. Lo and behold, the casing unraveled magically into shimmering, spider-web threads.

Silkworm breeding spread to Central Asia and on to Greece in the sixth century. Eventually, the art spread farther west. Camel caravans carrying silk and luxury products from many countries vastly enhanced economic and cultural exchange between East and West. The Chinese art of paper, made from the bark of the same family of mulberry trees that nourished the priceless silkworms that in turn sacrificed their cocoons to create the raw silk that women spun into beautiful textiles, was also brought to the West along the Old Silk Road. Silk sparked the main trade along all the Silk Routes that brought ancient civilizations together for the first time in history.

Particularly popular in Korean cuisine, the silkworm is a food insect with many nutritional qualities. Its crunchy texture and mild flavors of hazelnut and almond make silkworms a delicacy that generally appeals to the greatest number.

Derived from Bombyx mori butterflies, edible silkworms are caterpillars that feed exclusively on mulberry leaves. After the eggs hatch, the larvae feed and after about a month, they make their cocoons which are boiled to recover the silk to be woven.

There are a thousand and one ways to enjoy edible silkworms. However, as in any tasting of food insect, the grilled insect remains the best way to discover all the flavors of silkworms >. In fact, they can be served with sauces or salad. It is excellent for an aperitif. Once you get used to the taste, you can incorporate it into various recipes.

Edible silkworms or Bombyx Mori are known for their nutritional quality. Indeed, 100 g of silkworms represents 389 kcal with 80 g of protein, 8 g of carbohydrate and 8 g of lipid. For the same quantity of beef, there are only 17.5 g of protein, 20 g of lipids and no carbohydrates for 250 kcal.

Firstly, silkworms will only eat mulberry leaves. Unlike other feeder insects which will eat most fruit or vegetables found in a typical household, silkworms will die f they eat anything other than mulberry leaves.

This means that as well as purchasing the silkworms, you also need to have a supply of mulberry leaves, or mulberry chow. I have used mulberry chow, which is a paste made up of mulberry leaves and water and comes in a little container, and you put a small quantity into the tub of silkworms and allow them to eat it.

When silkworms have consumed enough mulberry leaves, they naturally start to make their cocoon. During this 3 to 6 day process, the silkworm starts to secrete a sticky liquid protein called fibron. This protein hardens as it comes into contact with the air and is spun into a cocoon. The silk is then made by unraveling the fibers in hot water and weaving them tightly together to create a fabric. This process is often referred to as sericulture.

Get eggs from a friend or you can order them from a variety of onlinesources. Put the eggs in therefrigerator (NOT THE FREEZER!) until you are ready to use them. To findout where to buy eggs, artificial food, and other equipment, check out the Linkssection.

Silkworms only eat fresh mulberry leaves (or artificial food). In California, treeslose their leaves in October and leaf out around late March. Therefore, you cannot raisesilkworms year-round. You will need to locate local mulberry trees (Latin name Morusalba). Make sure to get permission from the owners and verify that they don't spray theirtree with insecticide. If possible, just pick leaves (don't break off branches), so leaveswill grow back faster. Leaves will keep fresh in Ziplock bags in the refrigerator forabout 5 days. Please don't strip a tree. If an owner will allow you to break off a smallbranch, put it in a vase of water and pick leaves as necessary. A branch will last a weekthis way. Don't put caterpillars on a branch in water, since they will drown. Youmight get tired of picking leaves and decide to park the caterpillars on a mulberrytree. Hungry birds may devour your entire brood! Artificial silkworm food (22pounds minimum!) can be ordered from It comes as a powder to which you add water. Itworks well with certain varieties of silkworm - but they will get bigger faster if theyeat leaves. Pictures of mulberry leaves can be found at

Since silkworms don't drink water, they get their moisture from the leaves so they mustbe fresh, not dried-out. Unless you want to change leaves three times daily, you need acovered container to raise the worms in. It should be almost air-tight to prevent leavesfrom drying out, but have small air holes for ventilation. Try a transparent plastic cakecover with the handle removed to allow air in through the screw-holes. In California,cheap lids are available from Smart and Final Iris restaurant supply stores. You'llneed a tray or plate to put it on, too.

Once you have located a source of leaves, and have a container ready, take your eggsout of the refrigerator. They will hatch in 7-20 days, depending on how far developed theywere when they were put into the refrigerator. Placing the eggs in direct sunlight seemsto speed up the process. Once you can see a dark ring and clear center in the egg, it isalmost ready to hatch. They usually hatch at dawn. Have a few leaves on hand since theymust eat within a day of hatching. Newborn silkworms will barely nibble at the leaf. Itwill dry out long before they could possibly eat it up. Change leaves at least three timesa day at this stage, so they will grow quickly. If you have access to a low-powermicroscope (about 30x), let the kids look at a tiny caterpillar. Instead of a tiny blackstring, they have incredible detail.

The Japanese call this stage "Kego", which means "hairy baby". Ifyou examine the eggshell under a microscope, you can see the pores that let air insidewhile the caterpillar is developing. The edges of the hole where the caterpillar emergedare black.

Twice a day (three times a day if you have no lid), give the worms fresh leaves.Newborn silkworms look like small black strings this size __ . They are initially too weakto crawl from the old leaf to the new one. Either place the new leaf directly on top ofthe old leaf, or carefully hand-pick all of the silkworms onto the new leaf. Throw out theold, dried leaf. Put the new leaf with silkworms into the container and replace the lid.If any newborn worms are on the paper with the eggs, gently move them onto a leaf (orplace a leaf directly on top of the paper).

After five days, the worms will have the strength to crawl from the old leaves to newones by themselves, so you won't have to hand-pick them. Then you can just place newleaves in the container. Every two days, empty the container to prevent mold from forming.You'll need to increase the number of leaves as they get older. Caterpillar poop lookslike a small black speck when they are little, and like miniature black corn cobs whenlarger. Make sure leaves do not have dew or water on the surface when feeding newbornsilkworms, since they will drown in any small surface film of water.

Silkworms will need to go home with the teacher or a child over the weekend since theyneed fresh leaves, and leaves dry out very quickly. The silkworms will shed their skinthree times while growing. The shed skins are beige and usually roll up into a round wad.Sometimes the tiny silkworms will eat their shed skin. The larger ones don't. Each stagethe silkworm goes through is called an "instar". First instar caterpillars areblack. The second and third instars are grayish-white with black heads. The fifth andfinal instar has a white head. In between each instar is a time of resting and molting.The Japanese say the silkworm is "sleeping".

When first laid, all eggs are lemon-yellow. After three days, they will turn white ifthey are infertile, or turn black if they are fertile. Fertile eggs might hatch a week ortwo after being laid in the middle of the summer, but they usually won't hatch unlesssubjected to "winter" in your refrigerator for at least several weeks. Waituntil the eggs turn black before putting them in the Ziplock bag in the refrigerator. Onceyou take eggs out of the fridge, they will hatch in 7-20 days, or maybe not at all. Directsunlight in the morning for a few hours hastens hatching. Eggs will remain viable inthe refrigerator for about five years. To find out where to buy eggs,artificial food, and other equipment, check out the Linkssection.

Rainfall: When the silkworms are large, take the lid off the container and have thechildren be extremely quiet. They will be able to hear the sound of the silkworms movingaround! It sounds like a gentle rainfall. The sound is not chewing, but their littlesuction-cup feet lifting off the leaves and plopping back down again.

Heartbeat. With a full-grown caterpillar, you can easily see the heart pumpingblood through the translucent skin. The heart is located at the rear end of thecaterpillar on the top. You can see it pulse. The main artery carrying the blood is wherethe backbone would be if it had one.

For thousand of years on the royal family of China had silk. The Chinese kept thesecret of how silk was made for 2500 years. The material was sold to the rulers of theWest, but the source of the shiny thread that made the material was not revealed. Thepenalty in China for telling that the silk came from the cocoons of the little silkwormswas death! Some very strange ideas were formulated as to the origin of silk. Here are afew: Silk came from the colored petals of flowers in the Chinese desert, silk was made ofwondrously soft soil, silk came from a spider-like animal that ate until it burst open andthe silk threads were found inside its body, and silk came from the silky fuzz on specialleaves. These ideas seem far-fetched today -- but in ancient times they were serioustheories. 041b061a72


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