Eating Cicadas

Eating Cicadas. Articles from various periods.

Yes, You Can Eat Cicadas: What You Need to Know Before You Take a Bite

Safety is key when dealing with just about any food, and cicadas are no exception. “Cicadas, like any bugs, can carry pathogenic microorganisms on them. That is why it is important to handle them as if you would a piece of raw chicken or shelled eggs,”

the cutting board and any utensils touching the cicadas should be washed and sanitized before you use it for something else. The countertop should also be cleaned and sanitized

When you’re ready to actually cook your cicadas, Amidor suggests you liken them to a far more popular food group — seafood. “Cicadas have a nutty flavor and shrimp-like quality.

Miya’s Sushi, a sustainable sushi restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut, serves smoked cicada salad and a cicada-topped pizza made with sushi rice, prepared by chef Bun Lai.

In Leesburg, Virginia, chef Tobias Padovano has taken a slightly different approach at his Mexican restaurant, Cocina on Market. In keeping with the cuisine of his eatery, Padovano prepares dozens of cicada tacos each night. According to the culinary pro, the cicada-filled tacos are a hit with diners.

Don't eat #cicadas if you're allergic to seafood, as these insects share a family relation to shrimp and lobsters,”

The Cicadas Are Here. For the Chef Bun Lai, They’re on the Menu. (Published 2021)

For Bun Lai, cicadas are mesmerizing to eat, their sweet, bitter flavor reminiscent of walnuts, chestnuts and adzuki beans, and their gently crunchy exterior giving way to creaminess, like a soft shell crab.

Every technique for cooking them “brings out different tones and shades,” he said.

As Brood X cicadas emerge by the billions in coming months, he will host a series of cicada-centric dinners at his farm in nearby Woodbridge, where he recently shifted part of the restaurant’s operations so he could do outdoor events and cook closer to nature.

Yes, Cicadas are Safe to Eat — and They’re Delicious

Cicada are tastiest in their teneral stage, which is right after they’ve shed into their adult forms, but are still pale white before their exoskeletons have hardened.

So at dusk, look for those wingless nymphs and enjoy the incredible show as they shed and transform and slowly inflate their new wings. Then pop a few into a bag and take them home to freeze for about 30 minutes before you prepare them.”

You can add them to any of your favorite dishes,” says Borgerson. “They don’t need peeling or extensive prepping, just pan fry them or parboil and toast them in the oven, and then use them like you would any of their crustacean relatives. Personally, I love them by themselves on toothpicks as an appetizer or in tacos, where you can use the toppings to bring out a lot of their green spring flavors.”

Tempura Cicadas:

Singing Sushi:

Flaming Cicada Fondue (because science and dessert are both best with a show):

Can you eat cicadas? Yes, and here’s the best way to catch, cook and snack on them.

*climb upward, then molt their nymphal case, just like a crab casting off an old exoskeleton. At this stage, when they are called tenerals, they will appear creamy white, with a few blushes of yellow. They will then develop their full adult exoskeleton, which is black and dark brown, and be ready to mate.

Their teneral and nymph stages are ideal for eating*

Weiss recommends against eating full-grown adults, which she says are the “least good to eat” and may be infected with a fungus that could render them unappetizing.

*excited to encounter them with her two young daughters.

“I let them stay up until midnight so that we could go outside and pluck cicadas from their nymphal cases as they emerged,” she says*

Pop them into a container and freeze it to kill them humanely. When you’re ready to cook, remove from the freezer and rinse very well to remove any dirt. Parboil or blanch them for about two minutes to “firm them up,” and then they’re ready to cook as you like

Weiss advises not to eat empty nymph cases; you’ll know because they are hollow and split open.

she describes their flavor as far different: nutty, with a bit of an asparagus taste. Lemann describes them as woody and earthy; Goon likened them to a potato chip. “The honest truth is that they don’t have a ton of flavor,” says Weiss, so you can experiment with spices, sauces and other flavorings.

“I’ll probably roast them up with a bit of salt, pepper, maybe some chile, make some eggs, grab some tortillas and make some cicada breakfast tacos,” he says

Jenna Jadin, an evolutionary biologist and ecologist, wrote up a PDF cookbook of cicada recipes called “Cicada-Licious” in 2004, which you could use as a guide for your first batch.

Gene Kritsky, a cicada expert and author of “Periodical Cicadas: The Brood X Edition,” has had the bugs sauteed, blanched in a salad, in pie and in a stir fry. Battered and fried with cocktail sauce was his preferred method, but Kritsky said he no longer eats the cicadas.

How to Cook Cicadas, According to 3 Richmond, Va., Chefs

Revealing delicate flavors if properly seasoned (i.e., just add salt), they recall the taste and texture of soft-shell crab, but with subtle overtones of boiled peanuts, the kind only a backroads gas station can really do right.

*Wienckowski's cicada and monkfish sausage was like nothing I'd ever had. Preparing first a thick remoulade of pureed monkfish, egg whites, and heavy cream, he gently folded in his cicadas, which he'd first blanched, and a bit of chopped basil.

Each rolled sausage was then again briefly immersed in boiling water and then fried until the outsides were a golden brown.*

Wienckowski's Baja-style cicada tacos--the bugs lightly breaded in cornstarch and fried--earned fair marks as well. They looked like bugs in mime makeup nestled in beds of cilantro, tomatoes, and bok choy, but the eating was good,

chef Seymore's cicadas and traditional Southern-style grits were a natural pairing

I could definitely see them as a bar snack somewhere," he said. "Now, if we could figure out how to wrap them in bacon

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