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A 17-year culinary adventure in the making: How to eat cicadas


Locavores, rejoice, because dinner’s about to start emerging, offering up a rare opportunity for adventurous palates and those seeking a carbon-neutral protein source that packs the same power as a pound of lean beef: The cicada.

As Jenna Jadin and the University of Maryland Cicadamaniacs pointed out in this informative article from 2004,

You have, in fact, probably already eaten many pounds of insects in your lifetime. Most Americans don’t realize that they are eating a pound or two of insects each year. This is because insects are a part of all processed foods from bread to tomato ketchup–it’s impossible to keep mass-produced food 100% insect-free. There are regulations stating the maximum amount of bug bits that food can contain and still be fit for human consumption. These bits, unseen, have been ground up into tiny pieces in such items as strawberry jams, peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, applesauce, frozen chopped broccoli, etc. For example, the “Food Defect Action Levels”, as currently defined by the Food and Drug Administration state that macaroni and noodle products can have 225 or more insect parts per 225 grams of product (4). This may sound disgusting, but these insect parts actually make some food products more nutritious.

If you can stomach hunting the little guys down, here’s just a small sampling of the smorgasbord of delight that awaits your crazy cooking self:

– German Chocolate Cicada Cake

– Soft-shelled Cicadas

– Cicada Sauerbraten with Spätzle

– Cicada Tacos

And so much more!

These crunchy treats should start to emerge around Memorial Day, so fire up the grill, get the batter ready and get ready for some rare treats.

We guarantee it’ll be the summer experience your kids will never forget.

Full story at University of Maryland, PBS, UC-Clermont College Biology Department, and Cicada Invasion.

Yep, it’s food, too!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


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