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Free Protein?

November 4th, 2010

I’m not much of one to care about seeing caterpillars on my plate after eating broccoli, I figure it’s free protein. I’d rather see this on my plate than not see it and have broccoli full of chemicals. Of course you can use “organic” methods of keeping them away, but I don’t bother with those either or my wrens might go hungry.

Have you ever finished eating your broccoli and seen this on your plate? What did you think?

30 Comments to “Free Protein?”
  1. Sue on November 4, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Not my favorite thing to see, but yes, I have seen that. And it makes me wonder what I didn’t see.
    But, like you said, it beats the heck out of eating chemicals.

    I have started soaking my broccoli for 20 minutes before cooking … puts my mind a bit more at ease.

    Reply to Sue's comment

  2. Corrie on November 4, 2010 at 7:55 am

    I usually soak mine in salt water and the caterpillars let go. But this year I have an unusually high amount of caterpillars AND aphids. I rinsed and soaked and did everything I could think of, but I know we ate some. As long as my husband doesn’t know, it’s ok! If he even saw one tiny creature he wouldn’t eat my broccoli ever again.

    Reply to Corrie's comment

    • Jaspenelle on November 4, 2010 at 9:59 pm

      I’m in this boat too, as long as my husband doesn’t see it is allll good!

      Reply to Jaspenelle's comment

  3. kristin @ going country on November 4, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Yuh huh. Honestly, it grosses me out. And kind of ticks me off if I’ve gone through the extra step of soaking in salt water and they STILL hide in there.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  4. Sense of Home on November 4, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Yes, I’ve seen this and I am really careful to pick over and clean my veggies as this is very unappetizing. Makes me wish I had chickens to feed the worms to.


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  5. Annette on November 4, 2010 at 8:58 am

    We make the protein statement as well. I save all these unfortunate critters for my hens. it’s a win-win. =)

    Reply to Annette's comment

  6. The Mom on November 4, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Not too much freaks me out these days. We eat the worms in the broccoli and the cabbage. I’m not very particular about getting them out. I don’t use anything to kill them either.

    Reply to The Mom's comment

  7. Miranda on November 4, 2010 at 9:33 am

    I often find little buggies crawling out of the harvest basket – doesn’t bother me TOO much, but i think i’d find it unpleasant to notice an actual squish in the mouth. Blecht. I try and pick them off to toss to the chickies.

    Reply to Miranda's comment

  8. Terry on November 4, 2010 at 9:57 am

    It would probably gross me out for a minute then I would think “oh well, at least I didn’t eat it”.

    One time I was eating a fruit salad under a tree and I looked down to find an inch worm in there! I took the bug out and finished the salad.

    Reply to Terry's comment

  9. Stone Soup on November 4, 2010 at 10:14 am

    I try and cut my pieces small and soak them well. I don’t think my family cares too much, but the thought grosses me out! I’m working on it!

    Reply to Stone Soup's comment

  10. Diane on November 4, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Many years ago me and my husband were eating at Red Lobster and in his salad was one of these little guys. He couldn’t eat a salad out at a restaurant for a long time after that.

    Reply to Diane's comment

  11. Sincerely, Emily on November 4, 2010 at 10:34 am

    oh yeah! I will have to try the salt water soak as mentioned in another comment earlier. I soak things in water, but some critters still sneak through. I am still not thrilled when I see them on my plate, but I can deal with it. Like you said, it is better than chemicals. I am not sure my husband would be too thrilled. Right now we seem to have a revolving door with guests and I really don’t think they would be too keen on finding something other than salad on their plate.

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

  12. Rhonda on November 4, 2010 at 10:45 am

    I actually ate one by accident. I had taken a “bitter” bit and then as I went on, I found a caterpillar and realized that must have been what I had eaten. Yeah … I had a serious gross out moment, but I got over it. :-)

    Reply to Rhonda's comment

  13. Susan on November 4, 2010 at 11:32 am

    I recently found one at the top of my lunch salad (my own greens) at work. I thought the same thing – and I also thought I’d save it for my chickens when I got home.

    Reply to Susan's comment

  14. amy on November 4, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    It is when……I don’t see one… the end of the meal that I know I have probably eaten the little buggers……ce la vie…..

    Reply to amy's comment

  15. amy manning on November 4, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    In my climate, caterpillars can get out of control fairly quickly. I used a BT spray once this year, and then managed them by hand if I could see them.

    I was taking a cooking class a few years ago and the instructor told me that he never bothered washing his produce if it was organic. So he cooked up some romanesco and fed it to us, and I immediately noticed that it tasted awful. Had to spit it out. It was totally infested with aphids. Now aphids, they taste absolutely disgusting! Grrroooosss!! !I always make sure to was my produce well now!

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  16. nic@nipitinthebud on November 4, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    snap. Happened to me this summer in spite of very thorough washing!

    Reply to nic@nipitinthebud's comment

  17. Sara on November 4, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Yeah, we joke at home that you probably can’t eat organic AND be entirely a vegetarian, as for sure you will eat some bugs!

    Row cover works great for preventing worms on broccoli early in the season, but I took it off once they grew too tall and now just check closely and hope for the best. At least the fall harvest are smaller side shoots and they’re easier to look through!

    Reply to Sara's comment

  18. tj on November 4, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    …Oh good lord, you’re killin’ me here Miss Chiot! I get the whole ‘organic’ concept and that you’re happy to see the worm and all but that right there would send me hurling! lol…

    …Bon appetit! ;o)


    Reply to tj's comment

  19. Tommy on November 4, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    The only thing worse than seeing a worm on your plate is seeing half a worm on your plate.

    Reply to Tommy's comment

    • Kelly on November 4, 2010 at 7:38 pm

      I was eating green peppers from my uncles garden one summer and stopped just in time to see a small worm pop his head out of a hole… that’s the exact same thing he said to me!

      Reply to Kelly's comment

  20. MAYBELLINE on November 4, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Oh barf!

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  21. Wendy on November 4, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    We had a couple of these crawl out of our salad this summer. Surprisingly, it was the kids who weren’t too excited about it. I wasn’t thrilled, but thought that I wouldn’t trade lettuce from the garden with a a few caterpillars for lettuce from the store.

    Reply to Wendy's comment

  22. Sande on November 4, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Yea, but if it’s still on your plate when you’ve finished then you missed out on the free protein.

    Reply to Sande's comment

    • Susy on November 4, 2010 at 10:08 pm

      Very true!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  23. girlgonegardening on November 4, 2010 at 10:24 pm


    Just melt cheese over the broccoli….nobody will ever notice….

    Reply to girlgonegardening's comment

  24. deedee on November 4, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    not on broccoli, but once this summer i made blt’s & nick looked down just in time to see a slug on his lettuce right before he took a big bite of it!

    Reply to deedee's comment

  25. Kate on November 5, 2010 at 2:53 am


    Reply to Kate's comment

  26. What was on my plate yesterday | Sincerely, Emily on November 5, 2010 at 9:54 am

    […] critter that made its way into the house. I had to laugh because I had just read a post over at Chiot’s Run called “Free Protein” and here it is Free […]

    Reply to What was on my plate yesterday | Sincerely, Emily's comment

  27. Marcia on November 7, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Yep, I just push it aside and keep on eating. I once had a Basil plant in my apartment and would grab a leaf to munch on here and there. One time, I found that a particular leaf was quite bitter. The undersides of all leaves were COVERED in aphids. What doesn’t kill you makes you…more careful.

    Reply to Marcia's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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