Cuitlacoche

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Cuitlacoche

Cuitlacoche: Cuitlacoche or Corn Smut is a type of fungus that grows on corn plants. In the US Cuitlacoche is referred to as "corn smut" and "devil's corn" and is considered a disease and attempts have been made to eradicate it. The term Cuitlacoche is Aztec and roughly translates to "Raven droppings". So far this doesn't sound like a gourmet ingredient, but in fact Cuitlacoche is considered a delicacy in Mexico, is deliberately cultivated there, and sells at a higher price than the corn it grows on. The earthy and smokey flavor of the fungus is widely used in Mexican dishes like soups, quesadillas, tamales and other gourmet dishes. In spite of all the bad publicity, Cuitlacoche does enjoy some very positive names in the gourmet food industry. It has been called "Mexican Truffle", "Aztec Caviar", or "Maize Mushroom", all very glamorous names. The negative attitude toward the fungus in the US stems from it's infection of our staple corn crops, and it's unattractive appearance. The tumors are medium to dark grey and contrast unfavorably with the bright yellow corn we know and love.

Cuitlacoche is a fungus, it's not a mushroom but has a similar flavor. It's flavor is earthy, like most other fungus, but has a sweetness and a slight hint of corn. Culinary uses are not restricted to Mexican cuisine, Cuitlacoche has been used in many dishes and can be used anywhere mushrooms are used. There are even reports of a Cuitlacoche ice cream! Attitudes in the US have softened in recent years, and Cuitlacoche is being cultivated in limited quantities in several states. The Aztecs intentionally infected ears of corn, and the fungus was also popular amoung the Hopi and Zuni Native Americans and the Mayans who considered it a type of meat. The next time someone walks up to you and offers you some Cuitlacoche ice cream, try it! The Aztecs can't ALL be wrong...and they don't take criticism well...

 

    Cuitlacoche Facts:
  • Know as Cuitlacoche, Huitlacoche, Corn Smut
  • Popular nicknames: Mexican Truffle, Aztec Caviar, or Maize Mushroom
  • Cuitlacoche is a fungus that grows on corn
  • Popular in Mexican cuisine
  • Huitlacoche is high in protein
  • Cuitlacoche sells for a higher price than the corn it grows on
  • Can be used in place of most mushrooms
  • Cuitlacoche is slightly sweet corn flavor
  • Earthy smokey mushroom flavor
  • Cuitlacoche is considered a blight in the corn happy US
  • Cuitlacoche is Aztec for "Raven droppings"

Where to buy: Cuitlacoche