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Cicadas Anyone?

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?


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  1. 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.

    1. 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

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

        1. re: CapeCodGuy

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

      2. 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

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

          1. re: HillJ

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

          2. re: EM23

            <"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. 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

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


              1. re: CapeCodGuy

                Not mine! Tough and chewy, I reckon.

              2. re: tcamp

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

                1. re: hill food

                  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. 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

                    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

                      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

                        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

                        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. 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

                        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. 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

                          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. Maybe fried and dusted with chili powder.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: treb

                            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.

                            1. re: fldhkybnva

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

                              1. re: HillJ

                                Awesome! Did you notice the author's name?

                                1. re: HillJ

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

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

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

                                      1. re: HillJ

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

                                        1. re: Vidute

                                          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

                                            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

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

                                            2. re: HillJ

                                              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: hill food

                                                  do i have to reveal the star ingredient?

                                                  1. re: Vidute

                                                    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

                                                      As long as they share your sense of humor :)

                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                        my sense of humor is a little left of warped.

                                          1. re: EM23

                                            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

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

                                              1. re: EM23

                                                Trust me, they will find you.

                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                  No doubt. I am a bug magnet.

                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                    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

                                                    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: HillJ

                                                        Do you have them by you, HillJ?

                                                        1. re: EM23

                                                          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

                                                            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: HillJ

                                                              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

                                                                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

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

                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                    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

                                                                      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

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

                                                    1. 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: HillJ

                                                          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

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

                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                              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

                                                                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

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

                                                                  1. re: tcamp

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

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

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: coll

                                                          Now that's just adorable!

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


                                                          1. re: HillJ

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

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

                                                          Who needs lobster?

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

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                              Good one!
                                                              Haven't seen him around anywhere.

                                                            2. 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.