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Cicada Recipes: Bugs Are Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Food


Stashed in: Bugs!, World Hunger, National Geographic, Gluten

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Cicadas spend most of their lives underground sucking sap from tree roots. The plant-based diet gives them a green, asparagus-like flavor, especially when eaten raw or boiled, according to Kristky, who prefers his Brood II bugs blanched and tossed into a leafy green salad like chunks of chicken.

Gross? Not really, said Jenna Jadin, an entomologist who wrote the online cookbook Cicada-Licious: Cooking and Enjoying Periodical Cicada in 2004 while a graduate student at the University of Maryland in College Park.

She notes in her book that crawfish, lobster, crab, and shrimp are part of the same biological phylum—arthropods—as insects. "So popping a big juicy beetle, cricket, or cicada into your mouth is only a step away," Jadin writes. (Related: "U.N. Urges Eating Insects; 8 Popular Bugs to Try.")

*Candied Cicadas

1 pound cicadas

1 cup white sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

3 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Once every 17 years, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spread cicadas in a single layer over a baking sheet. Roast for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the cicadas start to turn brown and are thoroughly dried out.

Stir together sugar, cinnamon, salt, and milk in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat for eight minutes, or until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage at 236°F (113°C). Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla immediately.

Add cicadas to sugar syrup, and stir to coat well. Spoon onto waxed paper, and immediately separate cicadas with a fork. Cool and store in airtight containers.

Have you tried this yet?

Nope.  I'll get around to it eventually.  :)

You'll likely do it before I do. :)

I wouldn't necessarily mind insect-based meals... I love shrimp after all and crab & lobster, and they're basically underwater insects... however I would be more comfortable with a cicada-based surimi than just gnawing on a bug.

Well said, Jason. I think that's true for most of us. 

I was just thinking a really HOPPY beer would pair well with cicadae.  :-)

I had two of those things land on my arm and face last time they emerged... 1) they're not shy of humans and 2) I do, in fact, scream like a little girl when 'attacked' by a giant bug on my face

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