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Huitlacoche


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You can buy huitlacoche on the ears from Henry of "The Farm" at the Evanston's farmer's market when he has them.  Usually you need damp, humid weather for it to show up on corn.  My favorite way to eat it was to saute it with epazote and garlic and eat it as a taco filling.  It shows up at Topolobampo's menu as well.  People I know from Iowa thought I was crazy to buy corn full of corn smut...I thought they were crazy to throw it out.

regards,

trillium

crazy is as crazy does. Thanks trillium. I'm gonna look for Henry.

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -Ernest Hemingway

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we make a huitlacoche puree...it is nice a black, and adds a nice smoky or earthy flavor to some dishes....and sometimes contrast it with a sweet corn cream sauce (nice and white, contrasted with the black puree)...call the dish "friend and foe" hehehehe...

Nothing quite like a meal with my beautiful wife.

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  • 4 years later...

After about a year of living in the Midwest again, I decided to alert my lovely friend Donna, who runs the CSA here to keep a lookout for huitlacoche. The last time I asked folks around here for the stuff, they looked at me like I had 3 heads. This time, Donna looked at me strangely, but said she would let me know. Sure enough, a few weeks ago, she said she saw some in her fields, and we could go pick some. What a treat!

I'm not the best photographer in the world so the photos aren't top notch, but we had fun. Enjoy.

The hunt...yes, I got quite a few questions, like Mom... what are we doing!?

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Score!

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My helper was more than happy to pick some with me.

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A nice haul... we shared some with some Mexican friends here in town.

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Simply prepared with onion, garlic and epazote, nothing glamorous folks! This is weeknight quick dinner before bedtime.

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Kid tested...well, foodie kid tested... and well, approved?!

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Frankly, I was shocked that he ate it. It's inky black and not very visually appealing for a kid.

It was quite fun, and something people in corn country should try for themselves.

C

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I had huitlacoche soup in Mexicali once. It was very tasty. Wouldn't hesitate to eat it again. When I was growing up we grew 100 acres of super-sweet corn and always threw the "smut" ears away. Little did I know that "smut" was a delicacy.

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WOW! what an exciting report! do you have more photos? I've always wanted to know where the fungus grows....

It grows right on the ears. The closeup photo is the deformed ear with the fungus right on it.

These were all the photos I had. It was a Monday night and it was a quick trip to the corn field and totally unplanned. I was lucky I had my camera in the purse to capture it at all.

C

Edited by Caarina (log)
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I can still taste the chicken breast with huitlacoche sauce in a restaurant in Zacatecas, a silver town in the mountains of central Mexico. It didn't hurt that the restaurant was beautiful, in the lower level of a building near the cathedral, with a fireplace and arches and white table clothes, and--

Right about now I'm thinking of asking my spouse, "How soon can you pack?"

Congratulations on finding this lovely stuff in your home town. Now, if only you can convince the local corn producers to allow some of it to ripen on their crop. Not all of it should go to ethanol.

N.

Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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  • 3 years later...

I particularly like 'raven's excrement' as one of the possible sources for the word, Huitlacoche (Wikipedia).

For two years, our hemp fields were planted in ethanol corn by the tenant farmer because of the glut on the market for his kind of hemp. Some of the cobs did have the amazing looking deformities on them and I had at the time no idea of what they were. Didn't touch them...

Now I know. Now I could gather them and cook them.

My question is: is there any other kind of deformed thing which grows on corn but which is poisonous? Or is it all smut?

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I ran into this once as a kid... my grandparents had a small patch of corn growing and one ear looked just like that - a big deformed black and white mess that I remember having a pretty funky smell, but I think I was about 8 so it's hard to really say.

This was in Hershey, PA.

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It's botannical name is Ustilago maydis. As far as I know it is the only fungus that affects corn in this fashion, so it is edible. It was known as 'Raven's Shit' to some North American tribes. The name 'huitlacoche' or 'cuitlacoche' is the most common name in Mexico. It is from Nahuatl, the most spoken of the many indigenous languages there. And it's translation means something along the lines of 'Sleeping Excrement of the Lords.'

If you can find naturally occurring cuitlacoche on field corn, you are way in luck. A lot of the cuitlacoche that is now grown here arises from the corn being innoculated with the fungus. This is not a problem per se; however they innoculate sweet corn, rather than field corn, and I, at least, find that the resulting product has an unexpected and unpleasant sweet taste to it. We do grow field corn in the US, but it is destined for stock feed. Field corn, which has bigger, starchy kernels, is not sweet. It is, somewhat like portobello mushrooms, meaty in its denseness.

Regards,

Theabroma

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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Thanks for all the information, Theobroma.

The farmer who plants our fields plants either hemp or ethanol corn and it's usually a surprise to us which he plants. Last year he told us corn...but then the hemp came up. We'll wait to see what it is this year. Maybe I can find someone locally who is planting cow corn if we don't have it. Then we can offer our unsuspecting guests Sleeping Excrement of the Lords for a tasty dinner dish. :smile:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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  • 4 years later...

I was going to be a smut peddler.

 

I had heard so much about "Mexican Truffle",  huitlacoche  So i bought a can from Amazon to create a special dish based on a recipe for a dinner party.

 

No one liked it. 

 

Truffle? No way! Corn smut? yes!

 

I may try again just in case. Anyone with suggestions?

 

 

dcarch

 

 

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I was going to be a smut peddler.

 

I had heard so much about "Mexican Truffle",  huitlacoche  So i bought a can from Amazon to create a special dish based on a recipe for a dinner party.

 

No one liked it. 

 

Truffle? No way! Corn smut? yes!

 

I may try again just in case. Anyone with suggestions?

 

 

dcarch

 

 

 

Fresh huitlacoche IS indeed marvelous.  Canned....eeeewwww.  

 

We lived in MX for 5 years and when we returned to the US, I bought the canned version and it is such unlike the real deal.  Like canned mushrooms are to fresh mushrooms.

 

I have never seen fresh huitlacoche in the US and even in MX it could be elusive.  In San Miguel and Guanajuato is was almost always available.  In Chapala (where we lived), it wasn't as common in the markets or restaurants.   

Edited by gulfporter (log)
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Fresh huitlacoche IS indeed marvelous.  Canned....eeeewwww.  

 

We lived in MX for 5 years and when we returned to the US, I bought the canned version and it is such unlike the real deal.  Like canned mushrooms are to fresh mushrooms.

 

I have never seen fresh huitlacoche in the US and even in MX it could be elusive.  In San Miguel and Guanajuato is was almost always available.  In Chapala (where we lived), it wasn't as common in the markets or restaurants.   

Could you not take the fresh smut from growing corn and use that?  We had our fields planted in corn quite a few years back and they had lots of the stuff on them.  At that point, I had never heard of huitlacoche and just thought those stalks of corn might be ruined.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Could you not take the fresh smut from growing corn and use that?  We had our fields planted in corn quite a few years back and they had lots of the stuff on them.  At that point, I had never heard of huitlacoche and just thought those stalks of corn might be ruined.

Here's an article from Cornell University about growing one's own.  Tener cuidado.  

 

https://blog.mycology.cornell.edu/2007/11/13/huitlacoche/

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  • 1 month later...

absolutely huitlacoche - congrats! I'm growing corn this year for the sole reason that I want the huitlacoche.

Cool!  

 

How do you make that happen on purpose?  I read that its a lot to do with how humid it is.  Are you growing them in your green house?

 

Any tips or cooking suggestions?  

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Cool!  

 

How do you make that happen on purpose?  I read that its a lot to do with how humid it is.  Are you growing them in your green house?

 

Any tips or cooking suggestions?  

 

It's a fungus, just spread the spores around.

 

dcarch

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I just did a more thorough check and I found another one.  This one has "whiter" fungus.  

 

 

 

photo 1.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope ALL my corn isn't doing this....but it's kinda fun to find something unexpected.  Farmers around here would absolutely be devastated if this happened to their crop (yes, I know they spray so it doesn't happen) so I can't let it get out that I'm gonna eat it LOL.

 

 

Tastes like a sweet corn mushroom.  I like it.

Edited by Shelby (log)
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Very interesting! I'd never heard of this before. Shelby, will be interested to see what you do with it. (And I love any picture that has Newman in it.)    :smile:

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