Huitlacoche (pronounced wheat-la-Koe-chey) is the Aztec/Mexican name for Corn Smut. I prefer to use huitlacoche because, whenever I’ve heard the term used, it’s been used in a positive manner, as in “Oh! Yum! Huitlacoche! I love this cooked in eggs.” When I’ve heard the term “corn smut,” it’s been more in the context of something like, “Be careful! If you touch it, you better wash your hands. It might be poisonous.” The truth is, that huitlacoche is an edible fungus which grows on the tender kernels of corn, while it is in development. When properly prepared huitlacoche is delicious.
In Mexico Huitlacoche an important crop.
In the USA corn smut is considered a major problem for corn growers. It spreads throughout the field, ruining corn, which, once infected, will never make usable grain. In Mexico, growers recognize that huitlacoche is worth much more than the grain itself. There, they purposefully cultivate it for sale. It is an ingredient in gourmet Mexican cooking.
How To Prepare Huitlacoche?
- Pick the ear of corn while the fungus is still light colored and hasn’t turned powdery and black.
- Cut it from the ear. If desired, cut it into smaller pieces.
- Cut and mix it into eggs and cook it, or saute it with some onions and garlic.
- Sauteed, it can be served as a side dish, but more often is added to dishes such as quesadillas. I’ve also had it in stews.
- Sauteed, it would go well in a stir fry with meat and vegetables.
Huitlacoche is high in lysine an important amino acid, practically lacking in regular corn.
So, if you grow corn and find an ear with “corn smut,” don’t throw it away, bring it to the kitchen and use it in a meal! Don’t you wish we could turn all our problems into delicious treats?