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University of Tennessee professor serves up cicadas as the star of sweet and savory dishes

As far as what to expect when it comes to taste, Grant said it tasted like shrimp, but also saying it can “taste like nothing”.
Published: May. 21, 2021 at 7:47 PM EDT|Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 10:28 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - You’ve probably heard them outside or seen them in your yard, but have you ever considered eating a cicada?

Jerome Grant is a professor at the University of Tennessee, and has been spending the last few weeks catching cicadas to put on his dinner plate. On the menu for this demonstration were street tacos, stir fry, and chocolate-covered cicadas.

How do you like your cicadas? UT professors tell us they're best served in a taco or even dipped in chocolate. Would you try one? https://bit.ly/3va2kYH

Posted by WVLT on Friday, May 21, 2021

Before we talk about ingredients and the way to prepare the dish, it’s important to first go over how to best catch and prep the insect itself.

Grant advises you catch a cicada away from your yard in case any pesticide could have gotten on it. Once you have your bugs, he says you can prepare them a number of ways but showed us a boiled version along with a roasted version. He recommends for a first time cicada eater, you take the wings off the bug, and roast it.

As far as what to expect when it comes to taste, Grant said it tasted like shrimp, but also saying it can “taste like nothing”.

The preparation for the dish themselves is simple, you take a dish like street tacos for example and make it how you normally would but instead of chicken or steak, you add cicadas. Grant says the best time to cook a cicada dish is one or two days after capture, saying that the longer you wait the harder they will get making them tougher to eat.

The UT professor adds that these insects actually taste good and believes that if you gave someone a taste without them knowing what it was, they would actually enjoy them.

According to Grant if you want to try this out, you only have about two weeks left to take advantage of an opportunity that only comes around every 17 years before those cicadas go away.

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