Huitlacoche, also known as corn mushrooms, are one species of fungi in the genus Ustilago. Species in this genus are parasites of grains like rice and corn, infecting the plant and causing the seeds, stems and other parts to swell and become edible mushrooms. They're a very traditional food across South America.
If you're new here, start out by reading The Forager's Guide to Huitlacoche
How to Find
The difficult part isn't finding it, it's finding the fungus infecting corn that you would want to eat that hasn't been sprayed with herbicide.
The best way to find huitlacoche is to make friends with an organic corn farmer.
The fungi infects corn through injuries, so go a cornfield in the summer, inspecting around the edges of the field where corn is likely to be damaged by deer, hail or floods.
General Cooking Tips
- These are great in soup, especially a soup with black beans and Mexican flavors where their black color will be welcome.
- Quesadillas are one of the most traditional things you can make, and should be first on your list.
- The mushrooms have a short shelf life but freeze like a dream. Just vacuum seal them and toss them in the freezer, adding them frozen directly to the dish you're making.
- Young, unripe or very light-corn mushrooms will be bitter. When perfectly ripe they should be grey, and a touch of black around the edges is ok.
- The exact time to harvest is up for debate. Many people in South America harvest them black and mushy, grey and firm, and just about any they can find.
The Forager's Guide to Huitlacoche
Traditional Mexican Huitlacoche Quesadilla
Choriqueso with Corn Mushrooms
Smoked Venison Stew with Corn Mushrooms and Tepary Beans
Fresh Tortillas Stuffed Cheese and Mushrooms
Traditional Huitlacoche Mushroom Tacos (Vegetarian)
The Huitlacoche Farmer