WASHINGTON -- The cicadas are here!
After 17 years underground, Brood II cicadas are slowly emerging from North Carolina to Connecticut. Eventually, billions of cicadas will noisily make their presence known along the East Coast, rising from the earth to "sing, mate and die."
While plenty of people express disgust over the beady-eyed bugs, others take a more creative approach. One way to make use of the swarm: eat 'em. After all, cicadas are a low-fat, high-protein snack, says National Geographic.
The University of Maryland's cicada cookbook offers 15 recipes for "cooking and enjoying periodical cicadas," from Soft-Shelled Cicadas and Maryland Cicadas (seasoned with Old Bay, natch) to Cica-Delicious Pizza and Banana Cicada Bread. Although the cookbook's disclaimer does "not advocate eating cicadas without first consulting with your doctor," author Jenna Jadin writes that cicadas "contain a high protein content, and since cicadas eat only vegetable matter, they are a pure and wholesome food source."
It's important to note that if you're allergic to shellfish, you should not eat cicadas.
For everyone else, we've rounded up 10 tasty ways to make use of Swarmageddon 2013. Let us know if you try any of the recipes!
<a href="http://gizmodo.com/fight-the-east-coast-cicada-onslaught-with-chianti-and-487409420" target="_blank">Gizmodo shares a recipe</a> for deep-fried cicadas that's pretty similar to fried chicken, just with a different protein source.
Cicada rhubarb pie
It's rhubarb season, so why not bake a pie with more protein by adding a handful of cicadas? That's the secret ingredient in <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1866011" target="_blank">this cicada rhubarb pie</a>.
It's important to note that you must blanch cicadas before cooking with them. That's the first step before starting this <a href="http://biology.clc.uc.edu/steincarter/recipes.htm" target="_blank">cicada-portobello quiche</a>.
Fried cicadas with Worcestershire sauce
"Cicada chef" Kirk Moore likes to marinate cicadas overnight in Worcestershire sauce before frying. Watch the video to see his technique.
Cicada chip cookies
The first step in making <a href="http://voices.yahoo.com/useful-cicada-recipes-great-way-rid-those-390883.html?cat=22" target="_blank">these cicada chip cookies</a> is pulling off the bug's wings and legs. The legs go into the trash but save the wings -- the recipe advises using them as a decorative cookie topping.
In a taco smothered with cheese and sour cream, could you really tell whether it's a <a href="http://cicadainvasion.blogspot.com/2011/04/if-you-cant-beat-em-eat-em-cicada.html" target="_blank">cicada taco</a> or one stuffed with chopped chicken?
The soft-shell crab sandwich is the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/03/maryland-state-sandwich_n_3008856.html" target="_blank">official state sandwich of Maryland</a>, so perhaps Marylanders won't be too put off by the idea of a <a href="http://www.markjcooking.com/recipex.php/59491" target="_blank">soft-shelled cicada</a> sandwich.
Feeling adventurous in Chinatown, food blogger Andy Ogden experimented with <a href="http://eatinggoodly.com/2010/12/09/cicada-soup/" target="_blank">cicada soup</a>. The result? "Very reminiscent of cream of mushroom… just with little specs of bugs in it."
Cicada ice cream
An ice cream shop in Missouri was told to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/07/cicada-ice-cream_n_872704.html#s288827&title=Cicada_Ice_Cream" target="_blank">stop making its popular cicada ice cream</a>, but <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/would-you-eat-chocolate-covere-148591" target="_blank">theKitchn has a basic recipe</a> for making your own batch at home.
<a href="http://jerseycountyjournal.com/chocolate-covered-cicadas-p6623-139.htm" target="_blank">This recipe for chocolate-covered cicadas</a> is as simple as it sounds and may be the most delicious way yet to try these bugs.
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