Using a cicada invasion to get us over the “ick” factor

cicada peanut butter cups

According to Time Magazine, a recent United Nations report states that we will have to eat more bugs to stave off world hunger. In Fight World Hunger by Eating Bugs, Urges U.N., they point out that bugs are a cost-efficient, high source of protein with minimal environmental impact. And, further, that non-Western cultures are already happily consuming them: “The report points out that insects have always been part of our diet, noting that today more than two billion people already consume insects as food and implying that the reason Westerners don’t comes down to irrational cultural distaste.” In short, there is an “ick” factor.

To help us overcome the “ick” factor, we note that this is the summer when one of the 17-year cicada broods is emerging to mate on the East Coast (there are a number of 13-year and 17-year broods that emerge at different times and in different areas). So over at, they’ve helpfully published an article, When life gives you cicadas, eat ’em. As they point out:

“Cicadas are eaten the world over. They are said to taste like asparagus – or, you guessed it, chicken. In Africa, Asia, and South America, people know how to cook them. In Australia, which hosts more than 220 of the world’s 2,000-plus species, different species have different slang names, such as Black Prince, Brown Baker, and Green Baron. They’re so common that Australian recipes tend to be fairly casual, such as this one from a website: ‘First, pull the wings off and then throw them onto hot coals for about a minute. Turn them over once or twice and they’re ready to eat.'”

They do go on to note, “Avoid cicadas if you’re allergic to lobster or crawfish. All three are arthropods; if you’re allergic to one, you’re likely allergic to the others. Stick to grasshoppers. To put it on the positive side, we quote Dave Stieger, manager of the Insectarium museum in Philadelphia: ‘If you like eating shrimp, you’d probably love eating cicadas.'”

And in another article from the New York Post, Cicadas set to descend on East Coast can be tasty dishes when well-prepared, they helpfully give out recipes for cicada tacos, cicada rhubarb pie, Maryland cicadas, and recommend topping peanut butter cups with cicadas.  So no excuses – enjoy!




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  • Eurydice  on  June 21, 2013

    I'm only just getting used to the crunch of deep-fried prawns with the tails left on and haven't tried cicadas yet. As schoolkids we once roasted witchetty grubs which tasted nutty and surprisingly nice though. I'm surprised that this prime item of "bush tucker" isn't yet on the EYB ingredient list.

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