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Cicadas Anyone?

CapeCodGuy May 11, 2013 07:19 PM

My original tongue in cheek post was quickly deleted, so I'll try again. As many know, many here on the east coast are about to experience a once in 17 year phenomena, the emergence of billions of chicadas. I've personally witnessed this twice in my life, and the sheer volume of these bugs, that lay and eat underground for 17 years before emerging in mass to mate and die off, is astonishing. More interesting that that is the supposedly taste delicious. Now, I realize that the mere idea of eating insects in the US is repugnant. According to the article below, in some cultures insects make up 20% of people's diet. These critters are supposed to be very much like shrimp or lobster and can be quite delicious. After all, like shrimp, crab or lobster they are merely meaty exoskeletons. Here's an article called, "Cidadas, the Shrimp of the Land," that discusses the reality of eating these bugs, complete with links to recipes to anyone adventurous enough to give it a go. After all, if 1 billion shrimp fell into your back yard, wouldn't you eat a bunch of them? Anyone here every tried these?


  1. Bill Hunt May 25, 2013 09:20 PM

    We spend a lot of time at Blackberry Farm, in the Smoky Mountains, and have been blessed with those insects.

    Back in my past, we had them in several years, down on the MS Gulf Coast, and they were a part of my growing up. In my youth, when we did eat all sorts of things, we never ate cicadas.

    I miss them in AZ, just as I miss the fire-flys. Another reason that we go to Blackberry Farm, and drive around the 10,000 acres, looking for the.


    1. Veggo May 25, 2013 04:38 PM

      I wonder if John Secada, the Cuban singer, is burrowing underground for the summer.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Veggo
        Annief123 May 25, 2013 05:05 PM

        Good one!
        Haven't seen him around anywhere.

      2. a
        Annief123 May 25, 2013 04:18 PM

        I loved that article!
        I just sent it to several people and invited them to my cicada boil this summer.

        Who needs lobster?

        1. coll May 24, 2013 06:51 AM

          Apropo of nothing...but this is what I think of, myself.

          2 Replies
          1. re: coll
            HillJ May 24, 2013 07:03 AM

            Now that's just adorable!

            ...and sort of reminds me of the tradition of the Lima Bean festival, Ms. Lima Bean!


            1. re: HillJ
              coll May 24, 2013 07:05 AM

              Little Miss Cicada! I'd rather wear them than eat them, she says.

          2. tcamp May 24, 2013 06:25 AM

            Don't forget, if you anywhere near Alexandria, VA, that Dairy Godmother in Del Ray will be serving Cicada Crunch custard on Friday, May 31.


            7 Replies
            1. re: tcamp
              HillJ May 24, 2013 06:27 AM

              tcamp, r u going for it?

              1. re: HillJ
                tcamp May 24, 2013 06:33 AM

                Absolutely! I've already let my boss know I'm working at home that day so I can meet a friend there when they open at noon.

                1. re: tcamp
                  HillJ May 24, 2013 06:37 AM

                  Wonderful! Then I'll be eager to read your review! What fun!

                  1. re: HillJ
                    tcamp May 31, 2013 11:15 AM

                    It was a rip off!! Talk about false advertising.

                    I did go and asked, as did almost everyone else ordering, if there were real cicadas inside. The counter clerk said no, he didn't think so. And then this:


                    Oh, the custard was good but nary a bug in sight.

                    1. re: tcamp
                      HillJ May 31, 2013 11:28 AM

                      What a tease!

                      Yesterday my sons went cicada harvesting in Iselin, NJ. Brought back a bunch. Still deciding what I'm going to do with them....but they won't be fresh past a week.

                      The cicadas are already in mating mode. In some areas their collective sound is deafening!

                      1. re: HillJ
                        tcamp May 31, 2013 01:20 PM

                        I haven't seen a single one here in VA.

                        1. re: tcamp
                          HillJ May 31, 2013 01:28 PM

                          Depending on who you ask that could be a good thing :)

            2. EM23 May 22, 2013 09:58 AM

              A cicada taste test

              18 Replies
              1. re: EM23
                tcamp May 22, 2013 10:55 AM

                That is funny. I never think of the Capital Weather Gang as a recipe source. The map indicates I should be seeing them but I haven't yet.

                1. re: tcamp
                  EM23 May 22, 2013 11:32 AM

                  Here is a sightings map so we can all plan our dinners:) http://www.magicicada.org/databases/m...

                  1. re: EM23
                    Veggo May 22, 2013 11:59 AM

                    Trust me, they will find you.

                    1. re: Veggo
                      EM23 May 24, 2013 08:57 AM

                      No doubt. I am a bug magnet.

                      1. re: Veggo
                        EM23 May 30, 2013 10:35 AM

                        Much to my delight, I just read that Long Island will not see a Brood II invasion this year. Hallelujah! Alas, no cicada dinners for me. Now I can focus all my worrying on the annual cave cricket invasion in my basement.

                      2. re: EM23
                        Vidute May 23, 2013 07:33 PM

                        it's rather odd that there's that big gap of cicada-less between dc and new jersey. i'm hoping it stays that way.

                        1. re: Vidute
                          HillJ May 24, 2013 05:59 AM

                          NJ is covered!

                          1. re: HillJ
                            EM23 May 24, 2013 09:02 AM

                            Do you have them by you, HillJ?

                            1. re: EM23
                              HillJ May 24, 2013 09:35 AM

                              Tons! A friend of mine is a mailman, he's running into cicadas in the Middlesex county area of NJ.

                              Lots of cicada holes in the ground..which leads your eyes to the mass colonies pretty quickly.

                              1. re: HillJ
                                EM23 May 26, 2013 08:38 PM

                                I love your enthusiasm for the brood invasion, J! And, despite my fear of most things bug-related, I'm looking forward to what you, and the others on this thread, will be creating and nibbling on, cicada-wise. Happy Memorial Day and crunch on, everyone!

                                1. re: EM23
                                  HillJ May 26, 2013 09:00 PM


                                2. re: HillJ
                                  EM23 Jun 8, 2013 01:08 PM

                                  I just read on the HC board that you did it! A stir fry and lollies - nice menu! So did they taste like asparagus? Were they tasty enough that, if they were always available, you would consider them as a regular dish?

                                  1. re: EM23
                                    HillJ Jun 8, 2013 05:57 PM

                                    The lollipops tasted like maple sugar with a crunchy center that has a sugar coating-no real separate taste profile there. In the stir fry the cicadas reminded me of prawns. I'm not hesitant to eat bugs under the right conditions but I don't have regular access.

                                    1. re: HillJ
                                      Veggo Jun 9, 2013 05:21 AM

                                      No regular access? Isn't year 2030 soon enough?...:)

                                      1. re: Veggo
                                        HillJ Jun 9, 2013 06:32 AM

                                        It may have to be :)

                                      2. re: HillJ
                                        EM23 Jun 9, 2013 09:31 AM

                                        That makes sense since they are related. I would love to see a pic of the lollipop if you have one.
                                        And don't worry about haveing to wait another 17 years, J. Long Island was spared the invasion this year, so I believe we get the next round in 2021 - I'll hook you up;))

                                        1. re: EM23
                                          HillJ Jun 9, 2013 09:51 AM

                                          Too funny. My son's buddy has a few shots on his phone. If I can nab one I'll post it here. Keep in mind this is novelty "dining" :)

                              2. re: Vidute
                                EM23 May 24, 2013 08:59 AM

                                I read that there will be areas that won't get the invasion, and, in that case, those areas can expect them in 2021.

                        2. HillJ May 21, 2013 08:33 PM

                          Cicada Cookbook

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: HillJ
                            Vidute May 21, 2013 08:51 PM

                            you stole my thunder!!! for that you must vote prepare and consume one of the recipes! ;)

                            1. re: Vidute
                              HillJ May 21, 2013 09:01 PM

                              You're fun Vidute! I've consumed my share of bugs. And um..there is no such thing as stealing on CH, ha!
                              Now it's your turn to prepare and consume one of the recipes! ;)

                              1. re: HillJ
                                hill food May 22, 2013 12:36 AM

                                yeah! I think I got an excoriation from Vidute just yesterday regarding stealing. about what I can't recall, oh yeah something about a 1970 movie set in the PNW and fussy eaters. and toast. and Karen Black (OK maybe I hallucinated that part)

                                1. re: hill food
                                  Vidute May 23, 2013 07:26 PM

                                  nonononono.....i was expanding on the great jack's disastrous luck at diners. ;)

                                2. re: HillJ
                                  Vidute May 23, 2013 07:31 PM

                                  was discussing cicadas at work, today. we have a group of people that descends like locusts on any food that is left on the counter. i'ma thinkin' that maybe the a cicada concoction might be ripe for the makin' and takin'. :)

                                  1. re: Vidute
                                    hill food May 23, 2013 08:47 PM

                                    do it! I double-dog dare you!

                                    1. re: hill food
                                      Vidute May 23, 2013 08:58 PM

                                      do i have to reveal the star ingredient?

                                      1. re: Vidute
                                        hill food May 23, 2013 10:10 PM

                                        well yeah eventually. otherwise where's the fun? but I would warn them it's not vegetarian or kosher or halal or anything.

                                        1. re: hill food
                                          HillJ May 24, 2013 05:59 AM

                                          As long as they share your sense of humor :)

                                          1. re: HillJ
                                            Vidute May 25, 2013 09:08 PM

                                            my sense of humor is a little left of warped.

                            2. Veggo May 17, 2013 09:24 AM

                              Bun Lai, the owner of Miya's Sushi in New Haven, plans on gathering cicadas and cooking them up for his customers.

                              1. monavano May 17, 2013 09:18 AM

                                I'd rather eat Soylent Green. Well, maybe not, but YUCK!

                                1. HillJ May 16, 2013 05:57 PM


                                  recipes included!

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: HillJ
                                    tcamp May 17, 2013 06:48 AM

                                    Awesome! Did you notice the author's name?

                                    1. re: tcamp
                                      HillJ May 17, 2013 06:54 AM

                                      of course!

                                    2. re: HillJ
                                      EM23 May 17, 2013 07:02 AM

                                      Great photo! But it would take a few of those candied cicada craft cocktails to get me to eat those kebabs.

                                      1. re: EM23
                                        HillJ May 17, 2013 09:13 AM

                                        baby steps my friend.

                                    3. fldhkybnva May 16, 2013 09:38 AM

                                      Never lived, maybe cooked.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: fldhkybnva
                                        hill food May 16, 2013 05:53 PM

                                        now there's a typo that could be mashed-up with an aphorism to memorable effect.

                                      2. t
                                        treb May 15, 2013 07:48 AM

                                        Maybe fried and dusted with chili powder.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: treb
                                          Veggo May 15, 2013 07:59 AM

                                          These things have an ample thorax and large head, but I think the wings and legs should not be part of what is eaten. That would be a lot of hand work.

                                        2. j
                                          justme123 May 15, 2013 05:43 AM

                                          For those of you in CT, it seems that Miya's Sushi is planning to serve some up on their menu!


                                          Enjoy...I guess.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: justme123
                                            tcamp May 15, 2013 07:54 AM

                                            Nice article. I like this:

                                            “I don’t want to take something that’s inherently nutritious and deep fry it,” he explained. “If I’m going to interrupt this amazing, 17-year life cycle, I’m going to honor it and respect it.”

                                            For example, Lai is going to steam some cicadas with ground spices and herbs — in a fashion similar to the way Maryland crabs are prepared. He’s also going to do a cicada boil with spices and herbs.

                                            “The challenge is to take an ingredient that’s abundant and nourishing and make it appealing to people,” he said. “I’m not trying to gross people out. I’m not running a frat house. I respect the cicada.”

                                          2. melpy May 13, 2013 08:44 AM

                                            Last time they were out my coworkers paid a dude 35 dollars to eat a live one. He wouldn't recommend it.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: melpy
                                              tcamp May 13, 2013 08:54 AM

                                              That does sound gross but with legs and wings removed, then sautéed in lemon and butter as per the WaPo article linked above....that could be interesting.

                                            2. p
                                              pitterpatter May 13, 2013 06:59 AM

                                              I will try anything at least once, and as I live in a place where these things are going to be abundant, I have been following recipe blogs and know that I will be frying some up "just to see." If they taste like soft shell crabs, my favorite food, then I expect to be delighted, though I will not force them on my friends. By the way, whole tarantulas are also quite delicious and much like soft shell crabs.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: pitterpatter
                                                Veggo May 13, 2013 07:34 AM

                                                You eat tarantulas with all the fuzz on them? My good kitty little veggo eats scorpions but won't eat a tarantula. He just swats them because he enjoys watching them jump.
                                                I think of cicadas and locusts as protein for starving people who have no other source.

                                                1. re: Veggo
                                                  jrvedivici May 13, 2013 07:37 AM

                                                  Where do you live that tarantula's and scorpions are standard fare for your kitty to play with? I might suggest caulking your windows. (j/k)

                                                  1. re: jrvedivici
                                                    Veggo May 13, 2013 07:47 AM

                                                    I alternate between Florida and Quintana Roo, MX. Little veggo lives in the Mexico house. Tarantulas stay outdoors because they enjoy the warmth of the sun and stone walls, whereas scorpions like the cool tile floors indoors.
                                                    I grew up in Connecticut with memories of major cicada hatches, and our cats there didn't know what to think. They were everywhere, and so loud at night one could barely sleep.

                                                  2. re: Veggo
                                                    pitterpatter May 13, 2013 08:11 AM

                                                    The people of Cambodia use spiders as a major source of protein, and have learned how to cook them to be delicious. A guy down the road from me, in NJ, raises them for food, and is quite successful. You skewer them like kebabs then deep fry them. I never considered the "fuzz" on them.

                                                    While I have encountered a few wild tarantulas in my yard, no scorpions and for that I am grateful. Tell me how to get rid of the stink bugs. My dog will eat any insect except for those.

                                                2. hill food May 12, 2013 08:39 PM


                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: hill food
                                                    tcamp May 13, 2013 06:44 AM

                                                    Nice article! For those in the DC area, note that the frozen custard place noted in the article, Dairy Godmother, has Cicada Crunch custard on the flavor forecast for Friday, May 31. "Locally sourced, wild caught locust" is how they describe it.

                                                    It is right down the street from the adults only sushi place being discussed in another discussion.

                                                  2. tcamp May 12, 2013 03:29 PM

                                                    When we had the big Brood X visitation in 2004, I went to a party and had a deep fried cicada nibble. It was OK but I'm sure more interesting things can be done with them. DC area is supposed to have another cicada season this year: Brood 2, I believe. We have a big cemetary complex nearby where chemicals are not used so I'd be up for eating more given the right preparation. My dogs enjoy catching them.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: tcamp
                                                      CapeCodGuy May 12, 2013 04:43 PM

                                                      Mmmmmm....I hear dog is good eatin'.


                                                      1. re: CapeCodGuy
                                                        tcamp May 12, 2013 07:47 PM

                                                        Not mine! Tough and chewy, I reckon.

                                                      2. re: tcamp
                                                        CicadaLady May 30, 2013 11:43 PM

                                                        I hope your dogs don't get sick/need vet intervention if insecticide/pesticides are in the systems of the Cicadas...

                                                      3. EM23 May 12, 2013 12:55 PM

                                                        I read that the nymphs taste asparagus-like and the older cicadas have a rather nutty flavor. That said, I plan to leave them for the neighborhood wildlife to nibble on. But for those who do plan to chow down on them, this site has interesting tidbits about allergy and pesticide concerns. http://www.cicadamania.com/delicious....

                                                        Note to self – don’t ask HillJ to bring anything to the upcoming bbq.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: EM23
                                                          HillJ May 12, 2013 01:50 PM

                                                          ROFL! EM23, you would love me-always counted upon to bring the surprises but never pushy!

                                                          1. re: HillJ
                                                            EM23 May 12, 2013 03:36 PM

                                                            You're alright HillJ. Just don't stick the lollies in my cocktail, and all is cool;)
                                                            Happy Mother's Day!

                                                            1. re: EM23
                                                              HillJ May 12, 2013 03:37 PM

                                                              Thanks, EM...keepin it fun!

                                                          2. re: EM23
                                                            Gio May 16, 2013 09:50 AM

                                                            <"Do you really want to eat something that's been marinating in lawn fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals?">

                                                            Marinating in chemicals for 17 years! This is what I was going to say. I love seafood of all description. Lobster and shrimp are among my favorite foods but I'm staying away from these insects. Thanks for the article, EM23...

                                                          3. Chemicalkinetics May 11, 2013 10:47 PM

                                                            Yes, and no. I have never had a real full cicadas. However, I have had many cicadas shells, like these:


                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                              CapeCodGuy May 12, 2013 08:37 AM

                                                              Skins only? I would think the meat would be more appealing.

                                                              1. re: CapeCodGuy
                                                                Chemicalkinetics May 12, 2013 08:38 AM

                                                                They were used for soup. I should say the skin was removed after the soup was made.

                                                            2. HillJ May 11, 2013 07:34 PM

                                                              Okay I'll BITE :)
                                                              I've eaten my share of bugs and lived to tell the tale. I find it fascinating if I'm being totally honest. The harvesting is tricky, the timing is important (as the article indicated) so I'd rely on a morning harvester for my guaranteed enjoyment and then treat it like any other edible topping. I especially like them crushed over hot soup and they are pretty cool to bring to parties made into clear candy lollipops.

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