Cicadas: "The Shrimp of The Land"
The cicada invasion gives you the opportunity to feast on what scientists call a phenomenon
Billions of bite-sized snacks are about to appear in your backyard.
After nearly two decades living under the earth, cicadas are about to shake off the dirt and invade our great outdoors. And they’ll be ripe for your feasting says Isa Betancourt, an entomologist from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
“It’s a delicacy that’s rare,” says Betancourt, who’s known to dine on a few bugs from time to time. She calls cicadas "the shrimp of the land.”
“They are arthropods, which means they have an exoskeleton,” she said. “We regularly eat the arthropods of the sea and those are the shrimp, lobsters and crabs. And so cicadas are arthropods too.”
Betancourt suggests trying to grab the magicadas when they’re fresh from the ground and undergoing their molting stage, which consists of shedding their skin as they prepare to fly away to find a mate.
“That’s when they’re softest,” she said. “When they first emerge, they’ll be kind of a green color and after a few hours they’ll harden.”
The scientist says you’ll most likely find the soft cicadas in the morning hours. She says you can still eat them once they harden, but you should expect a little extra crunch. You’ll also want to pull off the wings, because, like corn kernels, they can get stuck in your teeth.
There are a couple dozen recipes for how to specifically prepare cicadas. Betancourt is planning on taking an old shrimp skewer dish, her grandmother has made for ages, and substitute in the insect. She also suggests boiling your insects first to quickly kill and clean them. “I’ve had them several different ways and frankly, I’ve enjoyed them every way I’ve eaten them,” he said.