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After 17 Years, 'Brood X' Is Emerging. Grab a Fork

Cicadas are a low-fat, protein-rich sustainable food source, advocates say
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2021 1:20 PM CDT

(Newser) – Brood X is about to arrive. That's the name for the group of cicadas that have been nestled underground for the past 17 years, waiting to emerge this month and next month and overrun our yards and parks. Some people enjoy their summer interludes, while others fear them, but there's another movement that's taking an entirely different approach: entomophagy, or eating bugs. Wired reports on the folks who want to do just that, citing their value as a sustainable, free-range source of protein that actually tastes pretty good as well. "Over 80% of the world's nations eat insects," New York-based chef Joseph Yoon, who runs an "edible insect" ambassadorship group called Brooklyn Bugs, tells Wired. "Why are we missing out?"

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Axios backs up Yoon's push with some nutritional evidence from the United Nations, noting the bugs' "high food conversion rate"—meaning cicadas need a lot less feed to produce the same amount of protein as other animals. WBIR adds they're also low-fat, not heavy on carbs, and even gluten-free. Convinced yet? If so, University of Tennessee entomology professor Dr. Jerome Grant offers the news outlet a primer on how to cook up these suckers. His tips include prepping them right after they emerge from the ground in the morning, when their shells are softer, and yanking off the legs and wings if you don't love the extra crunch. If you're already a shrimp or lobster fan, that's good news, because they're related to cicadas, says Grant. "You could use them in the same recipes," he notes. (Read more cicadas stories.)

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