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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.
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.
After doing some research and discussion, Sparky's employees got the green light from their boss to incorporate the buzzing insects into their ice cream. "We always try to push the limit," Sparky's Manager Ashley Nagel said about their flavors. The new ice cream will soon sit among flavors like Lavender Honey, Cake Batter and Lemon Poppyseed Muffin. The manager said the new flavor will be easy to spot. "Most of the wings are off but the top layer has wings so that people know what they are getting into," Nagel said.
"Cicada itself is purely a texture, and the flavor is like a peanut," Losciale said. "It's not that strange because we coated them in so much sugar. It's worth trying." While the strange looking pests are abundant, the dessert might not be found so easily elsewhere.