Brood X is coming.
Very soon, trillions of cicadas worldwide will emerge from the ground. Hundreds of billions will be right here in the U.S. Their numbers will be staggering: Some 1.5 million per acre.
They’re already emerging in warmer states like Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. They’ll soon appear in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and a few other states. And you’ll know when they get here: Their mating call is as loud as a chainsaw, Weather.com reports.
But here’s the thing about the red-eyed bugs that climb out of the ground, attach themselves to trees and emerge with wings: They’re tasty. After all, they’ve been feeding on the sugary juices and sap of tree roots for 17 years.
Every time one of the 15 different broods emerge, stories appear on how to cook and eat them. This year is no different. While Americans don’t eat many bugs, billions around the world do. In our weight and nutrition conscious world, it’s worth noting they’re low in fat and carbs, provide lots of protein — the same amount per pound as red meat. Plus, they’re gluten free.
If you want to try some out, they are tastiest and most tender if you grab them just after they come out of the ground, before their shell hardens, Jerome F. Grant, professor of entomology at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, told WUSA-9 in Washington, D.C.
“They are related to shrimp and lobster,” Grant said. “You could use them in the same recipes. … They’re an excellent food source.”
But you can still cook the adult cicadas. Just pull off the wings and legs, dust them with flour (and a lot of salt) and fry them up for a short bit. They make a crispy salad topping or adornment on a cake, the bug-eating experts say. On the other hand, they reportedly taste a bit like shrimp and a little like asparagus, so maybe not cakes.
And, of course, wash them first.
Keith Clay, professor and department chair of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Tulane University, recently recounted attending a dinner in which every dish needed to contain cicadas.
“At the cicada-themed potluck he attended, Clay says he saw cicadas included in everything from brownies to cakes and stir-fries. At one point Clay says that a Cincinnati restaurant even served them up as pizza toppings,” Inverse reported. “His personal favorite way is cooking the juicy nymphs up in a frying pan with just a little bit of butter, soy sauce, and hot sauce. If you can overcome the squeamishness of their appearance, Clay says we may all be better for it.”
“We’re gonna’ have to be more open-minded and more adaptable going forward if we’re going to survive,” Clay told the outlet.
You can find out if Brood X will emerge in your area here. But if 2021 isn’t your year, Brood XIII is set to emerge in 2024.
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