Guisado de Oruga – Or How the Caterpillar Met his Demise

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I take few things in life seriously. Books. Horses. Snatching unwanted agave pups from the suburban landscape. Searching for the perfect pocket sized rock.


This is a fairly comprehensive list. Except for one thing.

Corn growing. I take corn growing very very seriously. Well, as seriously as an amateur gardener can be when she’s only grown corn two or three times. So yes, serious 15′ x 15′ garden patch corn growing business.

And when this serious corn, a giant variety of desert corn from Native Seed Search in Tucson became plagued with very hungry corn caterpillars, it became even more serious business. Caterpillar eating very serious business.


Don’t make that face at me. I’m not the first person to eat bugs, and this wasn’t the first time I ate bugs, though it was the firsttime I cooked a bug, particularly a live squirming bug. And save your sympathy for someone other than a caterpillar. Those corn eating jerks play a cannibalistic Highlander game were only one will survive in one ear of corn. I merely ate the strongest of their kind.

Caterpillar damage on sweet corn.

Guisado de Oruga - Caterpillar Sautee

  • Freshly picked sweet corn, preferably plagued by corn caterpillars
  • 2 chileverde, 1/2″ sliced
  • 1/4 white onion, 1/4″ diced
  • Butter, to taste
  • Freshly squeezed lime, to taste
  • Salt, to taste

Husk the corn carefully as a caterpillar is likely to fall out and quickly vanish. Contain caterpillars along with some corn silk while cutting the kernels from the cob. Be sure to cut deeply enough to get as much of the germ as possible, as this contains a great deal of the corn flavor.

When all caterpillars have been collected, place in a strainer and lightly rinse. Appearance of civility must be maintained after all.

Add a small amount of canola oil to a medium hot saute pan. Add sliced chileverde and onions. Season lightly with salt and cook until softened and onions have become transluscent. Add the corn kernels, seasoning lightly with salt again. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the caterpillars.

If the squirming of the live caterpillars hitting the warm pan bothers you, cover the pan and walk away for approximately 5 minutes. Otherwise enjoy the satisfaction of sweet revenge.

Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Finish with a butter and a generous squeeze of lime juice. Serve with warm flour tortillas.

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