iReport: Buffalo fried cicadas
August 21st, 2013
03:30 PM ET
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Nick Schwartz of Fishkill, New York-based Plan Bee Farm Brewery recently joined CNN iReport and decided to share the story of his first-ever attempt at insect-based cooking back in June.

During the Brood II cicada swarm of 2013, he spotted what he describes as thousands of the creatures hanging out in trees and making a buzzing sound comparable to that of a low-flying airplane. So many, in fact, that while he was fishing in Fishkill, he caught a brown trout that appeared to have ingested several cicadas in its belly.

Schwartz says one day, he picked a live cicada off the tree and decided to see what it tasted like: "The insides were almost like a melted gummy worm. It wasn't really the taste, just the texture that was gross."

He also decided to pick a few cicadas and take them back to cook them. After marinating them in Worcestershire sauce for two weeks, he fried them up: "When we fried them, we ate everything. The wings just disintegrated in oil. When you cooked them, there was no sensation that you were eating them or that they were there. They were all fried up and crispy."

Bathed in Buffalo sauce, Schwartz says they were a tasty treat. He describes them as a culinary "foil," or a kind of food that imparts little flavor on its own.

"They almost tasted like nothing but what we put in them, but they were kind of crunchy. The thing I can compare them to is kale chips that you roast in the oven, or seaweed," he said.

After savoring his meal, Schwartz says he almost certainly will attempt a bug-cooking project again.

Share your cicada-based adventures on iReport Open Story: Abuzz about cicadas

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Filed under: Insects • iReport

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. personal training Long Island

    Bugs have a lot of protein.:) You really need to be a bit crazy to have to eat bugs. I'm glad to hear that you could season them.Let us know about your next great adventure.

    January 14, 2014 at 9:30 pm |
  2. CosmicC

    All of the recipies I've seen call for them to be picked as soon as they shed, while they are still white (like soft shelled crab). This guy went with full fledged adults. That must not have been much fun on the way out.

    August 23, 2013 at 9:37 am |
  3. Aquililus

    Shrimp are insects of the sea. Lobsters are a bigger version.

    August 22, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Edd0

      seafood is healthier

      August 22, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • Janet

      To be scientifically accurate, they are like spiders of the sea (arthropods).
      Although many people refer to lobsters and crabs 'cockroaches of the sea' due to their scavenging behavior such as affinity for feeding on human corpses (no lie)

      August 22, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
      • Jamie Taylor

        actually you are both right as insects, spiders, crabs, shrimp, scorpions, mites, centipedes, millipedes, horseshoe crabs, lobsters and many more animals I havent mentioned are all arthropods. i once read a stat that said 80% of animal life on Earth are arthropods. cant confirm how accurate that is tho...

        August 23, 2013 at 1:32 am |
    • CosmicC

      I've heard of cicadas being referred to as lawn shrimp.

      August 23, 2013 at 9:35 am |
      • Edwin

        IIf someone can 100% certify that they taste the same then I'll jump on board. Until then no thank you.

        August 23, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
  4. Tim

    Stories of eating bugs on CNN front page, daily.

    Are we being prepared for something?

    Should we be expecting to see a Mc Cicada Burger sometime soon??

    August 22, 2013 at 11:35 am |
  5. s~

    Good source of protien and vitamins.
    People eat grass hoppers, and even worms,, why not?

    August 22, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  6. Leonard

    These things have been marinating in lawn pesticides, fertilizer, etc. for 17 years. you can have all of mine.

    August 22, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • SixDegrees

      The same can be said for pretty much all livestock. Except they've been marinating in the commercial-grade herb/pest/insecticides applied to corn and grains.

      Well, those and the ground-up livestock fed back to livestock in the US. A practice strictly banned in every other civilized nation.

      August 22, 2013 at 10:32 am |
      • Sun


        August 23, 2013 at 7:22 am |
  7. SixDegrees

    I hate flossing the legs out from between my teeth.

    August 22, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • AleeD®

      I thought the legs were for picking your teeth.

      August 22, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  8. anony

    Ugh, you people have any idea what kinds of bacteria and parasites are in there just waiting to infect some poor sap? I mean i know it's safe but making thousand and thousands of those , there's bound to be a disease outbreak just waiting to happen! =(

    August 21, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • Edwin

      I don't disagree, but the same can be said of just about any food source. There have been lots of recalls on meats and veggies.

      August 21, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
  9. Francisco Decastro

    "The insides were almost like a melted gummy worm. It wasn't really the taste, just the texture that was gross."

    That"s DISGUSTING. Period.

    But then again, my cup of tea, is someone else's cup of urine.

    August 21, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  10. Edwin

    Still can't get over the yuck factor.

    August 21, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
  11. Shaun

    I would try it, I am seriously debating on adding more insects to my diet maybe they are the secret to how the people supposedly live hundreds of years ago in biblical times. I don't know for the longest time all this talk about them made my stomach churn but now a days as I get older I am getting a weird sense of craving for them, haha i am probably just wierd!

    August 21, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
  12. Deanna

    Seriously. Almost every day you have a post with a picture of a bowlful of bugs. Stop it. It makes me ill.

    August 21, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      Have you tried them? Delicious!

      August 21, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
      • RdRunnerxx


        August 21, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • Sid

      Things on internet make you cringe? Who would have thought that's possible? Internet isn't supposed ot hurt anybody's feelings, right?

      August 22, 2013 at 10:43 am |
      • Deanna

        I just like looking at pictures of yuimmy food, not icky bugs! And never the twain shall meet in my opinion! :D

        August 22, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Bored Board

      Hey! No bugs today. Guess that means you can swallow again. ~_~

      August 26, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
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