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Discovering Huitlacoche (Corn Smut) | Growing CORN FUNGUS a Mexican Delicacy

Corn Smut (Huitlacoche)… Creepy, scary? BURN IT!? Growing corn can be an adventure! Our corn harvest this year was not impressive, but as we were pulling up all of the stalks to put into compost, we noticed something strange looking was on some of the corn.


There were large galls on some of the ears that looked like one of the strangest infections we had ever seen. I remembered seeing something like this on my grandmother’s corn when I was growing up, but neither of us knew exactly what this was, until we researched it. We discovered that what we had growing on our corn was huitlacoche, also known in the U.S. as corn smut or corn truffles.


Huitlacoche is an edible fungus that sometimes appears on corn when silks go unpollinated or after a long period of rain or after wind damage opens up wounds on the corn as it develops. This year, we had two separate occasions where the wind was so strong it flattened our corn, so we think this is the reason why some of our ears developed huitlacoche. After finding the huitlacoche and researching the fungus further, we discovered that, not only is it edible, but it is actually healthier than a typical kernel of corn. In fact, in some cultures, like Mexico, it is considered a delicacy, even though it is uncommon in the U.S. because sweet corn farmers spray their crops with fungicide to prevent this fungus from creating product loss for them. We then knew we had to try the huitlacoche to see exactly why the edible fungus is enjoyed by some as a delicacy, and we have to say, it was delicious!


The taste is both smoky and a bit sweet, but not overpowering. We cooked the huitlacoche with onions, peppers, and tomatoes (all from the garden) and served it as a taco. Needless to say, in the future, we will not waste any huitlacoche that forms on our organic ears of corn. We hope you enjoy!


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