Choc-cadas, a seasonal treat from the Hudson Valley, NY
“They taste crunchy and a little creamy. Mostly chocolatey.” That was how Lucky Chocolates owner and Chocolatier, Rae described the chocolate dipped Cicadas, featured in her candy store for the First Friday promotion on June 7th in the Hudson Valley village of Saugerties. A friend collected the insects, removed the legs and wings and baked the cicadas. Rae added sticks and dipped them in organic 70% cocoa dark chocolate – surprisingly they were a hit! Mentioned on the store’s Facebook page, many people inquired, but quantities were limited to 25 Choc-cadas and they quickly sold out. One of the reasons Cicadas were featured was because Rae wanted to overcome people’s resistance to eating insects which are not part of today’s mainstream American diet. She adds “Other cultures eat insects and they are a good source of protein.” Rae loves the sound of the Cicadas and whilst walking her dog, discovered that Ulster Landing beach was teaming with them. (Note: People who have a shellfish allergy should not eat Cicadas)
Unfortunately you’ll have to wait another 17 years to sample the next batch because Hudson Valley cicadas emerge from the ground every 17 years. Take a look at the Lucky Chocolates Facebook page for more seasonal information.
‘Choc-cadas’ – chocolate covered cicadas from Lucky Chocolates
Adult Cicada from the Hudson Valley
Cicadas – a diary
I first heard the cicadas in my garden on June 1st in my area of the Mid-Hudson Valley. They are not very loud in my backyard but other people have complained the noise is so loud it keeps them awake at night and they have to use ear plugs to deaden the sound. How do they sound? If you have ever traveled by tram and heard the noise on the overhead wires before a tram arrives – that’s the sound, a sort of tense, low, whining buzz, a little eerie to be sure. Driving along one country road the sound fluctuates, in some places very load, then growing quieter as you drive a few meters further. This indicates that locally, there may be places where there is an abundance of cicadas, in other places, less.
Cicada drying itself out after a thunderstorm
In flight they resemble large orange moths and they fly at a similar speed to a butterfly or moth, usually heading for a shrub or tree. There are large numbers of adults clinging to branches and crawling on the ground and many are squashed on the road by cars. Looking carefully, I can see the exit holes in the soil and of course there are hundreds of abandoned exoskeletons still attached to plants/shrubs and on every flat surface outside.
Cicada exit hole (Nickle placed alongside to show size)
Per Wikipedia they are a good source of protein and the chipmunks are certainly enjoying eating them, they leave behind the parts they don’t like – wings, the hard outer shell of the abdomen and the head. These parts are scavenged by ants. I read cicadas are edible but I am hesitant to try cooking and eating them myself, even though free food is always a good thing. Second thought, having conversed with friends on Facebook I think I’ll Google for a recipe and try cooking them. (It will come as no surprise that my son instantly said “No!” when I asked him it he’d eat one) With the Foodie movement encouraging us ‘Eat Local’ I am surprised our restaurants have not featured cicadas on the menu as seasonal item – how about deep-fried cicada as a starter? Or kebabs?
As you have probably heard, the Hudson Valley cicadas have a 17 year cycle and are called Brood II. Although many of my friends can’t stand them I feel lucky to be able to observe one of nature’s events and grateful that humans have not messed it up (yet)