Cicadas are apparently a surprisingly good source of protein, according to nutritionists—if you’re brave enough to eat them.
With the arrival of the 17-year Brood II cicadas, some adventurous chefs are offering a variety of bug-based appetizers, snacks and even desserts. According to the Cicada Invasion blog, the bugs are crunchy and have a “nutty, almondlike flavor.”
Young, female cicadas have more “meat” in them than males and make for a better snack or meal, and several recipe sites recommend catching cicadas early in the day when temperatures are cooler.
Jack Dobbyn of Mount Vernon told The Washington Post, “You saute them with lemon and butter. ... They are crunchy on the outside, but they’re soft in the middle.”
Are cicadas safe to eat?
If you are allergic to shellfish, you should not eat cicadas. They are both arthropods and you could have an allergic reaction to them, according to Cicada Mania.
Also, be sure to remove the legs, wings and head before cooking — those are sharp and you could choke on them. And you may want to stay away from cicadas emerging in areas where there has been heavy pesticide use.
If you’re interested in a low-fat, carb-free protein fix, here are a few cicada recipe resources we’ve found:
- Cicadas with Garlic, Celery and Anise (from Insects are Food)
- Dry Roasted or Deep Fried Cicadas (from Gizmodo)
- Soft-Shelled Cicadas, Cicada Tacos and Cicada Rhubarb Pie (from NPR)
- Also see recipes for Cicada Dumplings, Chili Cicadas, Southern Cicada Tartlets and Emergence Cookies (from Cicada-licious).
More on Cicadas:
- Pet Safety During Cicada Season
- Could Cicadas Be the Perfect Spring Snack?
- 7 Reasons to Embrace the Cicada Swarmageddon
- Return of the 17-Year Cicada Expected This Spring
- How Many Cicadas Are Experts Expecting in Northern Virginia?