WATCH: UT professor talks about cooking cicadas, interesting facts

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — If hearing others chew their food is annoying to you, perhaps cooking and sampling cicadas in celebration of Brood X’s emergence from underground may not be for you.

But if you’re into trying different cuisines, perhaps this cicada recipe could be a fun way to showcase your culinary talents … and bravery.

Jerome Grant, a professor at the University of Tennessee’s Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, spoke about cooking with cicadas as the region is already seeing — and hearing — some of Brood X emerge from its 17-year sleep. The cicadas will emerge once the soil temperature is just right.

Grant says the cicadas usually emerge at night and they’re expecting the immature cicadas to emerge around Sunday. Once they emerge, they find a vertical structure like a tree or structure to latch to for the adult to emerge from the shell. The cicadas are harmless to humans.

The periodical cicadas of Brood X — those that emerge every 17 or 13 years — will be around and making noise (males only) as mating calls from now until the end of June. The insects will provide ample food supply for birds and even humans who are willing to try.

Grant has several recipes for cooking with cicadas and other insects. He says cicadas are high in protein, low in fat, and are gluten-free.

But if you’re allergic to shellfish cicadas are not recommended for eating because of how closely related cicadas are to shrimp, lobsters, crabs, etc.

Grant says if you’re not allergic and you do enjoy those foods, then cicadas could be tasty; some say cicadas taste like asparagus or roasted almonds. If you decide to try cooking and eating cicadas, be sure they come from a safe place free of pesticides.

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