(RNN) - When you hear the question "What's for dinner?" probably one of the last things that comes to mind is a low-fat, high-protein, really loud insect.
But a certain species of bug-eyed bugs could very well be what's for dinner and maybe even dessert with billions of cicadas emerging from the ground along the Eastern Seaboard.
After years of slumber, these noisy insects are back. And if you can't beat them, eat them.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates insects form part of the traditional diets of at least 2 billion people worldwide. More than 1,900 species have reportedly been used as food.
Cicadas make up 10 percent of all the insects eaten, and National Geographic says they are low in fat and high in protein - so it shouldn't be too surprising that they end up on some families' plates.
After the emergence of cicadas in 2004, Jenna Jadin and the University of Maryland Cicadamanics created Cicada-licious, an online cookbook dedicated solely to the edible delicacies.
Some of the recipes include Soft-Shelled Cicadas, Shanghai Cicadas, Cicada Dumplings, Cicada Stir-Fry, El Chirper Tacos, Cica-Delicious Pizza, Sizzling Chili Cicadas, Southern Cicada Tartlets, Banana Cicada Bread, Chocolate-Chip Trillers, Chocolate-Covered Cicadas and Emergence Cookies.
Other interesting recipes include: Caramel Cicada Crunch, Deep Fried Cicada served with hot mustard or cocktail sauce and Dry Roasted Cicada.
The Cicadamanics released a disclaimer on the website saying they do not advocate eating cicadas without first consulting your doctor. It went on to say many people worldwide eat cicadas, but there's no guarantee that they are safe for every person to eat.
Jadin says those with food allergies such as soy, nuts or shellfish should take special precautions before eating cicadas.
According to Periodical Cicadas, after 13 or 17 years underground, mature cicadas emerge from the ground at night into the morning hours. Immature cicadas develop underground and suck juices from plant roots.
They are expected to live above ground for about two to four weeks, mate and die.
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