The mopane worm has incredible nutritional value and around 80 of these caterpillars can provide 192% of a person’s daily protein requirements, 360% of daily calcium needs and over 15 000% of the iron requirements. It is also low in fat.
Dried mopane worms can be eaten raw as a crisp snack; however, in Botswana people tend not to eat the head. Alternatively, mopane worms can be soaked to rehydrate, before being fried until they are crunchy, or cooked with onion, tomatoes and spices and then served with pap or sadza. The flesh is yellow, and the gut may still contain fragments of dried leaf, which is not harmful to humans. The taste of dried leaves, if not removed, is somewhat reminiscent of tea leaves. Dried mopane worms are frequently canned/packaged in tomato sauce or chili sauce to enhance the flavour.