Creative Cicada Cooking

The mass emergence of cicadas on the East Coast of North America has provided a lot of “local food” and opportunity for creative chefs to experiment with new dishes. Blue Ribbon Hunter films Chef Bun Lai preparing smoked spicy cicada. The dish is “crunchy” like popcorn and piquant from the spices and lime.

The periodic cicada emergence on the East Coast of North America has faded so this post is a bit late for the periodic cicadas. Dog Day Cicadas require more persistence to catch, but they would probably work in this recipe. Thinking ahead? Brood III is expected to emerge in Iowa in 2014 with populations extending across the river into Western Illinois and Western Missouri. Residents there are in for a treat.

Cooking Cicadas

Cooking Cicadas Image: Blue Ribbon Hunter

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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3 Responses to Creative Cicada Cooking

  1. Alli says:

    I came across your blog while looking for info on the pandora sphinx moth and am glad I started to browse around. We live in CT, not far from an area where Brood II emerged. My 9 year old son has been obsessed with insects for years and was beyond excited to see this phenomenon, but in spite of his begging I couldn’t bring myself to cook any of the cicadas! Maybe I’ll be braver in 14 years. By the way, I grew up in Indiana and was always a Purdue fan, but ended up at the University of Evansville.

  2. jjneal says:

    If your son maintains an interest, he could have a career in entomology. Entomologists are biologists that specialize in insects and work in many areas solving practical problems.

  3. Alli says:

    He has wanted to be an entomologist since before he could pronounce the word entomologist! I think he envisions himself as someday being the Crocodile Hunter of the insect world, traveling the globe in search of new specimens. Either that, or he’ll become a chef specializing in insect-based cuisine. This his his fourth year collecting and pinning insects, although lately he has been saving money to order exotic insects online. We usually have about a dozen insects in the freezer waiting to be pinned and a variety of caterpillars living on the kitchen counter. Usually by this point in the summer we also have dozens of monarch caterpillars to raise and tag for Monarch Watch, but they are very late or just have small numbers. Since his interest started when he was three (the year he insisted on being an earwig for Halloween), I think it would amazing if he did make a career of it!

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