Missouri Ice Cream Store Makes Cicada-Flavored Batch

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REUTERS/Nancy Hinkle/ University of Georgia/Handout

Nothing says summer in the Midwest like a little cicada ice cream.

The first batch of the cicada-flavored ice cream at the Columbia, Mo., joint Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream sold out before it even hit the display case.

Before making a second round, the store checked with the county health officials and—shockingly—nothing in the code mentioned cicadas, but the store was advised against using the cicadas nonetheless, even though biologists report the bug as edible.

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With noisy cicadas making a debut once every 13 years, staff at Sparky’s told the Columbia-Missourian they collected cicadas from their own yards and brought them into work. After removing most of the wings (some wings were left on as a garnish for the top layer of the ice cream) and legs, the bugs were fully cooked in boiling water and covered in brown sugar and milk chocolate. Staff say the cicada remains purely a texture since the flavor resembles a peanut. Plus, with so much sugar coating the insects, you’d never know anyway. The insects were then mixed in with a base ice cream flavor of brown sugar and butter. And people loved it, even if just for the oddity of it all.

But even with the vastly popular ice cream rendition, Sparky’s decided against continuing to create using the cicadas that have surfaced, instead hanging a sign on its door saying to check back for the next batch later: in 2024.

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