Win a copy of Straw Bale Building Details this week in the Straw Bale House forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Anne Miller
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
stewards:
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Burra Maluca
  • Joseph Lofthouse
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Mike Barkley
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
  • Pearl Sutton

Huitlacoche  RSS feed

 
Posts: 159
Location: North Coast Dominican Republic
17
forest garden tiny house trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have not been able to enjoy many mushrooms in the Dominican Republic, because there are few if any identification resources; the local inhabitants are no help with this. I was pleased, therefore, when I discovered the Mexican corn mushroom, or huitlacoche, in my corn field. Just one problem: the nonnative African weaverbirds seem to like it as much as I do. More often than not, when I peeled a bird-damaged ear of corn, I found the telltale black sockets where the mushrooms had been. It was very rare that I was able to get to the mushrooms before the weaverbirds did; but when I did, what a treat for my taco filling!

If only I could find a way to keep the birds away long enough for me to get those mushrooms myself. How do they tell which ears have the mushrooms, when the husk hides what is going on inside?
 
pollinator
Posts: 368
Location: Ashhurst New Zealand
80
chicken duck homestead cooking trees wood heat woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Smell, maybe? Some birds might be able to sniff out the affected ears. Have you gone out on a still morning and checked out the aromas among the corn?
 
gardener
Posts: 5735
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
821
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bird netting a section so you get some of the awesomely delicious fungus might be the only way you can beat the birds.
I am fairly sure they can smell the tasty treats within the ear long before the husks start showing the pinkish hue the fungus imparts to them.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
Posts: 797
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
136
bee chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur hunting
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It sucks. LAst year I had no idea what that was, and it infested the crop. This year I was waiting for it and not one ear.

Thats the fun part of growing stuff, it relieves you of the illusion of control!
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 5735
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
821
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Huitlacoche, or Ustilago maydis, is a fungus, but not a mushroom.
It blooms when water gets inside the corn husk, it infects and destroys the kernels of corn and it is best used after just a few weeks of growing.

If you grow corn and ever find "corn smut" infected ears, it means your land has the spores.
Since we know that to infect an ear water has to get between the husk and the cob, we can induce the probability of growing this fungi, even though it isn't a guarantee it's worth a try.

If you have never had this delicacy you should, it is the food of the gods according to the Maya culture, only high priests and the king were allowed to eat it.
The Aztec culture had everyone eating this tasty "Mexican truffle".  

Interestingly, despite the fact that huitlacoche infects the corn, it actually significantly improves on the health benefits of corn.
The fungus has notably more protein than healthy corn contains, and a far greater portion of lysine, an essential amino acid.
 
Posts: 86
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow what an amazing fungi. Never seen the like here. Thanks for the ID Bryant I'm on a learning curve now (my happy place).

I imagine, it being food destined for Gods, if you were to learn to propagate it, it would be worth more than corn. The crop could be redirected into ethanol or stock feed after fungal harvest - perhaps. Just ruminating, fungi get me oh so excited.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 5735
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
821
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Unfortunately Ustilago maydis destroys the corn kernel so ears with the fungus would not be suitable for ethanol production, nor would it be a good choice for stock feed since most animals that we use for food don't like fungus.
It does however leave the cobs in a condition that makes them good fire fuel once dehydrated.
It is pretty easy to determine if an ear has been "infected" because the shucks will take on a pink hue where the fungus is present.

propagation is possible by taking infected kernels and grinding them to make a paste then inoculate good ears by injection and adding water after the inoculation.
It isn't fool proof since there is only around a 50% success rate at this time.
 
pollinator
Posts: 258
Location: wanderer
70
bike fungi tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I got to taste huitlachoche tamales for the first time recently; they were sooo good! A very delectable delicacy for sure!
"The Aztecs intentionally inoculated [sic] their corn with (huitlacoche) spores by scratching the base of corn stalk with a soil-smeared knife." - EatTheWeeds.com/Corn-Smut-Mexican-Truffles
The above link is a great article complete with recipes. However, I'm pretty sure there are still Aztecs cultivating huitlachoche using traditional methods! Don't know why folks insist on talking about living indigenous peoples & their practices in the past tense!
EDIBLE-Mexican_Truffles-_huitlacoche_(Ustilago_maydis)-_Quesadilla_de_huitlacoche-_by_Gunnar_Wolf-_WikiMedia.org.jpg
[Thumbnail for EDIBLE-Mexican_Truffles-_huitlacoche_(Ustilago_maydis)-_Quesadilla_de_huitlacoche-_by_Gunnar_Wolf-_WikiMedia.org.jpg]
Mexican Truffles, huitlacoche (Ustilago maydis), Quesadilla de huitlacoche, by Gunnar Wolf, WikiMedia.org
 
For my next feat, I will require a volunteer from the audience! Perhaps this tiny ad?
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
https://permies.com/wiki/bootcamp
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!