Thinking of trying cicadas and wondering: do cicadas taste good? Well, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about its taste, texture, and preparation tips to turn it into a scrumptious snack!
Cicadas or Brood X are harmless insects that make for a tasty and nutritious snack. High in protein and minerals, these bugs are quite popular in insect-eating cultures for their crunch exterior and nutty flavor.
You may have it dry-roasted or fresh. If you’re trying to figure out how to experiment with it, this article has plenty of tips on how to cook these critters like a pro.
What do cicadas taste like?
Taste-wise, a mouthful of cicadas will give you a burst of a plump, nutty-buttery flavor that complements their crisp exterior well. While they’re crunchy on the outside, they have a creamy and delicious center with earthy notes. The subtle nuttiness beneath the crisp exterior almost tastes like crunchy, pan-roasted chickpeas.
To better understand the flavor, you can try thinking of asparagus, as they seem to taste a lot like green spring.
Surprisingly, the critters have an all-around scrumptious taste and meaty texture. The texture can be compared to shrimps, as they seem to have a similar gene makeup. And that’s why most people find them to be an excellent, sustainable substitute for fish.
The flavor of cicadas also depends on how the cicadas are cooked. Mainly, the critters taste like earthy popcorn, whereas grilled cicadas have a mild, smoky undertone with a succulent, meaty flavor. On the other hand, stir-fried cicadas may taste a lot like earthy mushrooms.
Some people also like serving the critters as sweets, coated in chocolate. In my opinion, the chocolate overpowers the taste, while the texture is a lot like a chocolate-covered raisin.
Can you eat cicadas?
Cicadas make for great snacks and are sustainable too. Consuming them may also come in handy in trying to cope with climate change, as they also make for an environmentally sound alternative to meat. Growing meat, such as beef, requires land and water, whereas cicadas are a sustainable form of protein. Most importantly, the insects make for delicious, low-calorie snacks and are also high iron content.
While cicadas may not seem appealing to everyone, they’re certainly edible and safe for consumption. They have been a popular delicacy in Japan and Australia, and are now eaten across the globe.
However, as with any food, you must keep in mind allergy concerns. Young children, pregnant women, and those allergic to shellfish should refrain from having cicadas. Moreover, ensure that the cicadas are free from pesticides and insecticides as these contain harmful chemicals that can cause toxicity.
How to eat cicadas?
There are endless ways to eat cicadas, from using them as pizza or salad toppings to creating kabobs! You can experiment with different spices, condiments, sauces, flavorings, and marinades.
Although several people consume them fresh, we suggest dry roasting the cicadas. Blanch them in boiling water, before dry roasting them. Add some sea salt and Voila!
Their crisp exterior makes them great as protein in tacos or as toppings in salads. Some say they’re best tempura or pan-fried. We have also heard of people coating dry-roasted cicadas in chocolate for ice cream topping. You can also crush up some dry-roasted cicadas to coat a flank steak to give it a crunchy texture and woody flavor.
Our favorite way to eat cicadas is to dip them in tempura batter before frying to add an intense crunch to them. You can eat these as is or line these in vinegared rice, along with avocado and mayo to put together some delicious sushi rolls.
How to prepare cicadas?
To prepare cicadas, you must gather them first. They live underground as nymphs before tunneling up through the ground. That’s when they shed their wings and also when they are tastiest.
Satiate your cicada cravings by gathering fresh and newly hatched critters, as these seem to have a relatively less hard outer shell. One way is to look for the wingless, white-green nymphs early morning and gather them as they emerge. Once you find the tenerals, simply store them in a paper bag. You can use these fresh or freeze them for later us (not more than two weeks). Freezing them is also the most ethical way to kill the critters.
The best part is that once you’ve gathered the critters, you don’t need to prep much. You don’t need to peel them; however, remove any hard bits before consuming them raw, such as the wings and legs. Since these parts don’t add any flavor, it’s best to discard them. Rinse them to get rid of any dirt. Next, simply, pan fry or parboil the cicadas or dry roast them in the oven. You can then use them as appetizers or add them to any of your dishes as protein.
While cicadas may seem like a gross or weird snack to most, but those that live near them seem to enjoy the delicacy. If you seem to have adventurous flavor palate, you must certainly try out this new protein. The insects are a rich source of protein and iron and have low saturated fats.
If you’re planning on gather cicadas, make sure to collect them from a toxin-free area. As cicadas live underground for over 15 years, they absorb chemicals, such as pesticides and insecticides through the ground. It’s best to look for them in the wild, where there has been no use of toxic chemicals.
As cicadas have a shrimp-like makeup, treat them as any seafood. Blanch or parboil the critters before deep-frying, roasting, or sautéing them. Add them to your salad for an extra crunch or make Maki rolls out of them! There are plenty of options on how to eat them!