The impending cicada invasion of New Jersey will give the brave an opportunity to experience a low-fat, low-carb, gluten free snack: yes, experts say that cicadas are edible!

According to National Geographic, the billions of insects that will be emerging soon in New Jersey can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Of course, the periodical cicadas have been burrowed into the soil for 17 years for the precise purpose of avoiding being eaten by predators, so you’re not doing the cicadas any favors by frying them up.

Proponents of eating cicadas point out that the insects are arthropods, just like shrimp, crab and lobster, and we have no problem eating those creatures. So, if you’re allergic to seafood, you probably shouldn’t eat them.

So, how do you eat the cicadas? First, try to choose one that has just emerged from nymph stage, they are the softest; if a young cicada is not available, National Geographic says that an adult female is the next best choice as their bellies are “fat and filled with nutritious eggs.” Adult males have hollow abdomens so there isn’t much to eat there.

You can prepare them however you like, but Gene Kritsky, a cicada expert says that most people enjoy them deep fried with a good dipping sauce. They can also be boiled or eaten raw; Kritsky says they have a flavor like asparagus (not much of a selling point, if you asked me).

If you are an adventurous cook, there is an entire cookbook devoted to preparing and consuming cicadas, called Cada-licious. The periodicals cicadas, known as Brood X, should be making their appearance next month, so keep an eye on your pets; apparently dogs and cats enjoy eating cicadas, too.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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