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Ever eat corn smut?

 
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Location: southeast SD (zone 4b/5a)
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I have been reading Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden

http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/buffalo/garden/garden.html

I found this very interesting way of controlling disease in the most organic way...

MAPË'DI (CORN SMUT)

Mapë'di

Mapë'di is a black mass that grows in the husk of an ear of corn; it is what you say white men call corn smut fungus. Sometimes an ear of corn appears very plump, or somewhat swelled; and when the husk is opened, there is no corn inside, only mapë'di, or smut; or sometimes part of the ear will be found with a little grain at one end, and mapë'di at the other. These masses of mapë'di, or corn smut, that we found growing on the ear, we gathered and dried for food.

There is another mapë'di that grows on the stalk of the corn. It is not good to eat, and was not gathered up at the harvest time. The mapë'di that grows on the stalk is commonly found at a place where the stalk, by some accident, has been half broken.

We looked upon the mapë'di that grew on the corn ear as a kind of corn, because it was borne on the cob; it was found on the ears the grain of which was growing solid, or was about ready to be eaten as green corn. We did not find many mapë'di masses in one garden.

Harvest and Uses

We gathered the black masses and half boiled and dried them, still on the cob. When well dried, they were broken off the cob. These broken off pieces we mixed with the dried half boiled green corn, and stored in the same sack with them.

Mapë'di was cooked by boiling with the half-boiled dried corn. We did not eat mapë'di fresh from the garden, nor did we cook it separately. Mapë'di, boiled with corn, tasted good, not sweet, and not sour.

I still follow the custom of my tribe and gather mapë'di each year at the corn harvest.
 
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Huitlacoche.

As with a lot of 'delicacy' fungus, I can't get too excited about this one -- not much flavor to it. It is interesting to mix in with your enchilada and chile relleno filling, if you want to eat black food.
 
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