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Is this Huitlacoche?


Narcissus
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We were at farmer's market this morning, and we were looking at the decorative corn stalks. My bride found the cobs contained a black fungus. Each stalk had 2-3 infected cobs. I grabbed a number of them and am willing to experiment.

Can anyone verify that this is actually Huitlacoche?

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Taco Truck or Per Se - No matter as long as passion drives the food

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We were at farmer's market this morning, and we were looking at the decorative corn stalks. My bride found the cobs contained a black fungus. Each stalk had 2-3 infected cobs. I grabbed a number of them and am willing to experiment.

Can anyone verify that this is actually Huitlacoche?

That doesn't look like it to me. Huitlacoche just isn't any old fungus on an ear of corn. It has to be cultivated. It is sold in cans (inferior) or frozen by mail order (superior). Getting it fresh is almost impossible unless you live near a grower who does this. I recently tried to get some frozen but there is a minimum order and I would not be able to use that much ( I think it was 10 pounds) so I'm still looking. I have had it at cetain Mexican places (Bayliss, Mark Miller) and it imparts an interesting flavor. It's subtle (like putting an avocado leaf in a tamale) but prized. Good luck!

Here is a quote from a web site I found. The link follows the quote.

snip

The fungus is produced by removing the tassels of sweet corn plants before they shed pollen, and then inoculating the silks of the corn with spores of the huitlacoche fungus. The procedure causes the ear to produce "corn mushrooms" instead of kernels. The mushrooms are considered a gourmet delicacy and can be sold fresh for $5 per ear at the farmers' market. It also is being sold through local Mexican groceries and restaurants.

snip

http://ola.wkkf.org/fsrd/newsletter/routes29/

John S.

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The fungus in question is known as corn soot. That looks like it. It is naturally occuring - but can be cultivated. If you have any doubts, you may want to feed it first to your boss if you don't like him and see what happens.

Jmahl

The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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I've found it in my Grandmother's corn fields. It is best harvested when the kernels look horribly disfigured and are about to pop. If the kernels have exploded, it is past its prime but is probably still edible. Perhaps just not terribly palatable.

-L

Edit: can't type today.

Edited by lperry (log)
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Thanks everyone. I will experiment on myself only. I'm still deciding what to do. My bride used to have it at a kid in enchiladas. But alas, I only have enough for one.

Taco Truck or Per Se - No matter as long as passion drives the food

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Sure looks like corn smut. Huitlacoche sounds a lot better!

Good stuff, but yours looks a bit past it. Nice when it's silvery gray.

It's not that uncommon on organic farms. Most commercial farmers use fungicide. Spores live in the soil.

--L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

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I've had huitlacoche a number of times (and it's delicious!!) but admittedly have never seen it "in the wild". However, anytime I've had it, it's been a MUCH lighter color than that. It was not the color of nasty mold or something, it was mostly white and fairly firm like a mushroom.

Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

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I had a huitlacoche soup in Mexicali last year that was fantastic, memorable. I had no idea it was corn smut until I researched it later. I grew up on a farm with both sweet and field corn and we had no use for corn smut (nor could I have imagined eating it). I remember it was anywhere from black to light grey colored. We did make corn silk tea, and were considered a bit "hippy" by the neighbors.

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You are brave people to try and eat it.

I had no idea it was food until right now.

The fungus pops up once in a while in our gardens, for us it is something that a kid will pick and chase the others around with. It is on the order of holding slugs or getting hit on the head with a chicken poop, something very unpleasant.

So what does it taste like?

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