Unveiling the Delicacy of Huitlacoche: The Mexican Culinary Gem


Introduction to Huitlacoche

Many of our customers inquire, “What is a Huitlacoche animal?” Thus, we decided it would be a wonderful idea to create a piece that would address the question, “What is a Huitlacoche animal?” Huitlacoche pronounced whee-tla-KO-cheh, is sometimes referred to as Mexican truffle, corn smut, or corn mushroom. It’s a fungus that grows on organic maize at random and isn’t treated with fungicides. It is uncommon because it appears on the ripening maize ears during the wet season or an inadvertent downpour. In a cornfield, huitlacoche is identifiable as it consumes the corn kernels and pushes itself out through the shucks.

Huitlacoche: A Culinary Delicacy

Huitlacoche can fetch a higher price than the maize it infects, which is a benefit that farmers are starting to recognize. This rapidly spreading “blight,” which may “destroy” 10% of a maize crop and clog harvesting machinery, has undergone a significant turnaround. Millions of dollars have been spent by both farmers and the US government in an attempt to eradicate it, as well as in the development of maize variants resistant to smut. A local organic farmer was persuaded to intentionally introduce the fungus into his maize by researchers from the University of Wisconsin. According to their research, sweet corn only made a few cents per ear while huitlacoche produced an 80-cent profit!

The Economic Impact of Huitlacoche

The fact that the fungus pushes a metabolic process inside the corncob to develop new, healthier nutrients is a huge bonus for customers! For example, huitlacoche is loaded with lysine, an essential amino acid that the body needs but cannot produce on its own. In contrast, maize rarely contains any of this amino acid, which helps to build muscle, strengthen bones, fight infections, and maintain youthful skin. It also has more protein than most mushrooms and more beta-glucans, which lower cholesterol, than muesli.

Huitlacoche can be used anywhere mushrooms can be used; opt for fresh white mushrooms to be eaten raw, for example in a salad. They become black as a result of the inky liquid that appears when they heat up. Huitlacoche is silky and soft while fresh; it’s more liquid and black when it’s canned. It has an earthy, smokey flavor that tastes like corn mixed with mushrooms.

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Availability and Consumption of Huitlacoche

Fresh huitlacoche is sold in baskets at farmers’ markets around Mexico. To the delight of the local customers, the food stands frequently serve up warm, delectable thick corn patties packed with huitlacoche, maize kernels, and onions. This Mexican treat is available fresh, but in US stores, it’s typically only available in cans.

Cooking with Huitlacoche: A Tasty Recipe

Tamale, stews, soups, corn patties, quesadillas, and even desserts all incorporate the flavorful huitlacoche. It is now a highly sought-after item that can be found on some of the best menus in the nation, such as the James Beard House in New York City. Add diced huitlacoche to sautéed onions or garlic and simmer until it becomes black, a few minutes more. Then, add tomatoes and chiles and slow-cook for an additional twenty minutes for a tasty and easy homemade filling.

Visit Aqui es Texcoco to savor huitlacoche-flavored tacos accompanied by housemade specialties including beans, fried hot peppers, cactus salad, guacamole, and pita bread.

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