Huitlacoche (Cuitlacoche)

Huitlacoche
Thelmadatter/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Definition:

A fungus that grows on ears of corn.

Origins

Huitlacoche dates back to the Aztecs who enjoyed the naturally-occurring corn fungus as part of their diet. They would use the corn and the attached fungus in tamales and stews. Many Native American tribes also consumed the fungus and viewed it as a delicacy.

Appearance and Flavor

The fungus grows directly on the corn kernels and if the fungus grows large enough it can be seen through the husk.

It is grayish with some white looks similar to most mushrooms with a soft and velvety texture. The canned versions are often black and liquidy. It has a very pungent earthy flavor and has flavors of mushroom and corn.

Huitlacoche Today

Although American farmers view the fungus as a disease and take steps to prevent it from occurring, Mexicans view the fungus as a delicacy and enjoy it prepared in various dishes, or as a filling for tacos or tamales. It also has one of the highest protein contents of all the mushroom family.

Pronunciation: 

weet-la-COH-cheh

Also Known As:

Cuitlacoche, Corn Smut, Mexican Truffle,

Alternate Spellings: 

Cuitlacoche