In Mexico, locals try to save traditional ‘Mexican caviar’


              Juan Hernandez collects ahuautle, the eggs of the axayacatl, a type of water bug, on Lake Texcoco, near Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Hernandez is one of only six people known to still harvest ahuautle, at least in the Texcoco area, they fear they may be the last.(AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
            
              Pumpkin flowers are prepared to accompany a pre-hispanic recipe made with ahuautle, known as Mexican caviar, at a restaurant in Iztapalapa, near Mexico City, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. According to Jorge Ocampo, agrarian history coordinator at the Center for Economic, Social and Technological Research on Agribusiness and World Agriculture in Mexico State, the painstaking collection of ahuautle," known for its intense but delicate flavor, is threatened by the drying out of Lake Texcoco, development around the lakeshore and waning interest in the ingredient among younger generations. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
            
              Juan Hernandez drags a styrofoam raft with with pine needles loaded with Ahuautle, the eggs eggs of the axayacatl, a type of water bug, in Lake Texcoco, near Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. In this shallow lake a handful of farmers like Hernandez still harvest ahuautle in a bid to keep alive a culinary tradition dating at least to the Aztec empire. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
            
              Ahuautle, known as Mexican caviar, is displayed at a restaurant specialized in pre-hispanic dishes in Iztapalapa, near Mexico City, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. Ahuautle or the tiny eggs of an aquatic insect of the corixidae family, was once an important food to the people of the Valley of Mexico. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
            
              A water fowl flies over Lake Texcoco where Ahuautle, the eggs of the Axayacatl, a type of water bug, are cultivated and harvested, near Mexico City,Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. In this shallow lake a handful of farmers still harvest ahuautle, the eggs of an evasive, fingertip-size water bug in a bid to keep alive a culinary tradition dating at least to the Aztec empire. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
            
              Juan Hernandez drags a styrofoam raft to harvest ahuautle, the eggs of the Axayacatl, a type of water bug, known as the Mexican caviar, at Lake Texcoco, near Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022 For Hernandez, it's hard, dirty work that few are willing to do anymore. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
            
              Juan Hernandez prepares to harvest ahuautle, the eggs of the axayacatl, a type of water bug, at Lake Texcoco, near Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. For Hernandez, a farmer from San Cristóbal Nezquipayac, cultivating and collecting the tiny insect eggs is a way of life. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
            
              Dry axayacatl, a type of water bug, are displayed at a restaurant that specializes in pre-Hispanic dishes in Iztapalapa, near Mexico City, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. Framers harvest the eggs of this evasive, fingertip-size water bug in a bid to keep alive a culinary tradition dating at least to the Aztec empire. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
            
              Juan Hernandez, front, and a friend arrive at Lake Texcoco lake to harvest ahuautle, the eggs of the Axayacatl, a type of water bug, near Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. "We look for them along the edges of the lake, where the flies are more active," Hernandez said. He started as a young man, after a period of joblessness, joining about four dozen other local residents who used to work the lakes during the ahuautle season, the rainy period from June through September. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
            
              Ahuautle, the eggs of the Axayacatl, a type of water bug, are collected on pine needles after harvesting at Lake Texcoco, near Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. The eggs are run through a sieve to remove any bits of pine bark or mud. Then they are packed in bags for sale. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
            
              Croquettes made with ahuautle, known as Mexican caviar, are served at a restaurant in Iztapalapa, near Mexico City, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. "Eating this is like revisiting the past," said restaurant owner Gustavo Guerrero. He adds that the flavor of the ahuautle reminds him of his childhood, when his mother cooked the dish according to a recipe she learned from her grandmother. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
            
              Juan Hernandez enters Lake Texcoco to collecting ahuautle, also known as the Mexican caviar, near to Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Hernandez wades through the calf-high waters towards the pine branches he had poked into the muddy lakebed the week before, where the bird-fly bugs deposit their eggs he collects. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
            
              Juan Hernandez cleans ahuautle, known as the Mexican caviar, in Texcoco, near to Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. "Cleaning is a process that takes a lot of work," said Hernández, as he rubs his hand over the sticks to remove the eggs, which he then places on a piece of cloth. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
            
              A a bowl of ahuautle sits ready for the preparation of a pre-hispanic dish at a restaurant in Iztapalapa, near Mexico City, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. Ahuautle is also at risk of becoming only a gourmet dish for the rich: A kilogram of the eggs can sell for the equivalent of $50 (roughly $25 a pound). (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
            
              Juan Hernandez collects ahuautle, or the eggs of the Axayacatl, a type of water bug, on Lake Texcoco, near to Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022 For Hernandez, a farmer from San Cristóbal Nezquipayac, cultivating and collecting the tiny insect eggs is a way of life. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
            
              A dead axayacatl, a type of water bug, floats on the waters of Lake Texcoco, near Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. The insects eggs are consumes as ahuautle, known as the Mexican caviar. Ahuautle is threatened by the drying out of Lake Texcoco, development around the lakeshore and waning interest in the ingredient among younger generations. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
            
              Ahuautle, also known as the Mexican caviar is harvested from pine needles in Lake Texcoco, near to Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Ahuautle was once an important food to the people of the Valley of Mexico. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
            
              A cook prepares green sauce to accompany a pre-hispanic recipe made with ahuautle in Iztapalapa, near Mexico City, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. Ahuautle or the tiny eggs of the an aquatic insect of the corixidae family, also know as the "bird fly," is known for its intense but delicate flavor. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
            
              Ahuautle, the eggs of the axayacatl, a type of an aquatic insect, are seen attached to pine needles before being harvested at Lake Texcoco, near to Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. The tiny insect eggs known as "ahuautle" are parto of a culinary tradition dating at least to the Aztec empire that a few local farmers are trying to keep alive. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
In Mexico, locals try to save traditional ‘Mexican caviar’