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How to eat cicadas: Just in time for the swarm, tips on cooking the bug-eyed bugs

They're tastiest when they first emerge from underground. Before their shell hardens.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Just in time for the expected emergence of millions of cicadas this year --- tips on how to cook them and eat them.

Yes, says Jerome F. Grant, professor of entomology at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, the googly-eyed insects are edible.

Many people on Earth -- a couple billion, in fact -- include insects as part of their diet. It's not that odd. They're low in fat and carbs, offer a lot of protein and they're gluten free.

The 17-year "Brood X" swarm is expected to emerge from the soil by May or June, experts say.

Grant told WBIR when the batch emerges there could be more than 1 million per acre.

If you want to eat them, they're tastiest when they come out of the ground in the morning and before their shell hardens.

"They are related to shrimp and lobster," Grant said. "You could use them in the same recipes."

If you are cooking up the adult cicadas, you can pull the wings and legs off to reduce the crunchiness.

Grant said you can find plenty of cicada recipes on the internet of all things if you're up for it. "National Geographic," for one, has suggestions for ways to cook and eat them.

There's even a book available out there called "The Cicada Cookbook" by Chris Royal.