Mexico has a vast range of positively scrumptious food. Authentic Mexican food is next level. A bean & cheese burrito or store-bought taco doesn't quite articulate the multitude of flavor & variety Mexican food has. And then we also have drinks, which is a subject of its own. Don't get me started on horchatas.

Okay, you're searching the internet trying to figure out what the heck is huitlacoche? How do you even use it? Is it edible or do you have to throw it away? Is it safe to eat huitlacoche (corn smut)? I've done all the research for you so you can get all the answers right here. Keep scrolling interesting keep reading.

What is huitlacoche in English? 

In the United States, it's often called corn smut fungus.

What Is Huitlacoche? What Does It Taste Like? Corn Smut Is Huitlacoche Safe to Eat?

What is huitlacoche (corn smut / ustilago maydis)?

Corn smut is a plant fungus caused by Ustilago maydis. Huitlacoche is basically a corn mushroom or corn truffle that grows on the infected corn kernels. You might know it as corn smut or common smut. While most farmers in the United States would consider this fungal disease an infection worthy of eradication, fungus corn smut is considered a delicacy in Mexico, more commonly referred to as "huitlacoche." You might even hear it referred to as cuitlacoche, corn truffles, Mexican truffle, Mexican huitlacoche, maizteca mushrooms, corn mushrooms, & bunch of other terms.

Is Huitlacoche Safe to Eat?

If you're left wondering: well, is this fungus safe to eat? Yes! The corn fungus caused by ustilago maydis grows on ears of corn is considered a maize mushroom or type of edible mushroom. Yes, it's safe to eat. It's actually a delicacy. Taste a piece of Mexico. Not only is it safe to eat but there are plenty of ways that you can eat it & make it - from huitlacoche quesadillas to soups to tamales. 

Can You Eat It While Pregnant? 

I'm not a doctor so I am no clue about that; make sure to check with your own doctor based on your own health conditions. Definitely worth asking your doctor before ordering some at a restaurant. Just to be on the safe side!

How Is Huitlacoche Pronounced? 

That's a great question because it's somewhat difficult when you first look at it. You can pronounce it weet-la-ko-che (the 'che' should sound like 'che' in 'checkers.') If you want to be super authentic then you can pronounce it more like "hwee-tla-ko-che."


What Is Huitlacoche? What Does It Taste Like? Corn Smut Is Huitlacoche Safe to Eat?


What does fresh huitlacoche smell like, taste like, look like?

Don't forget this is a delicacy. The plant fungus grows on corn kernels. The infected kernels change color & shape. The name corn smut fungus doesn't sound so appetizing, so I love referring to its name in its mother tongue. I first tried huitlacoche back in 2016; I even mentioned it in my July A - Z monthly recap & my July Favorites. Mexican cuisine is delicious; I always eat something new & foods can vary by state & by cities. My boyfriend's mom made a fresh batch. Fred's parents are from Central Mexico.  I've been able to taste some delicious Mexican food homemade by Fred's mom, including some regional specialties from their hometown. 

I ate it by itself, as a side. It's earthy but not as stinky as mushrooms. It tastes like corn, even though it is a plant fungus. The texture is a bit mushy, just like cooked corn. There might be an occasional fiber from the corn. It looks dark, like a blackish, brownish color, due to the corn fungus kind of the same color as a crimini mushroom or Portobello mushroom. If you enjoy mushrooms or kind of earthier foods with that type of texture, you will probably agree with the taste of huitlacoche corn smuts.

How do you eat huitlacoche?

You can use this smut delicacy many ways. It's a versatile ingredient. You don't eat it off the cob as you would regular ears of corn. I loooove quesadillas de huitlacoche. The ingredients you'll are need tortilla, cheese, huitlacoche, that's it. You can use flour or corn tortillas. Delicious. If quesadillas aren't your thing, you can use huitlacoche Mexican truffle in your soup or burrito. You can make a huitlacoche taco or sopes. Basically, you can add huitlacoche as a filler or side, the same way you'd integrate something like black beans or mushrooms. You can eat it with a tortilla or as a side dish on its own. You can add it to various types of dishes such as soups, tamales, tacos, whatever your heart desires. 

You can add onion, garlic, corn, cheese, tomatoes, tortilla, epazote leaves. These are common ingredients that go together with huitlacoche. Huitlacoche dishes to add some delicious earthy flavor and texture to the meal.

What Is Huitlacoche? What Does It Taste Like? Corn Smut


What's the nutritional value of huitlacoche?

High Protein
As cuitlacoche grows, fresh huitlacoche is higher in protein than most maize or corn, & could be considered as an alternative protein source for vegetarians (or anyone), according to a research study published in Food Science and Technology (Sociedade Brasileira de Ciência e Tecnologia de Alimentos).

High in Minerals like Magnesium & Phosphorus
The study also shows that huitlacoche is high in minerals magnesium & phosphorus. Higher magnesium intake may reduce the risk of stroke, diabetes, & osteoporosis (National Institutes of Health). So load up on that huitlacoche! 

High in Fatty Acids like Oleic Acid & Linoleic Acid
Huitlacoche is high in fatty acids like oleic acid & linoleic acid. Due to the plant fungus & how it alters the corn, huitlacoche is loaded with nutrients corn doesn't normally have, such as lysine, an amino acid.

High Carbohydrate
At the end of the day, huitlacoche is still corn, so it has a high carbohydrate content. The great news is that huitlacoche has a high cellulose content (a type of carbohydrate), which can be beneficial for digestion. Sounds like a win to me!

Low Fat 
Huitlacoche is low in fat, which makes it a great choice for anyone looking for lower calorie & lower fat foods.

Where Can I Find it

You're likely to find it at a Mexican restaurant but there are some canned varieties as well. I haven't tried canned, only fresh huitlacoche, so I can't say from experience. Fresh is usually always best. You can even had to a Mexican market to see if they have it or know someone who grows it. Know any farmers? Ask them. Farmers might be a good place to start.

So what do you think? Did I convince you to try it? Technically it's a corn fungus but that shouldn't stop you from trying something you could potentially really enjoy. I've had plenty of times & each of the restaurants makes it their own unique way. The seasoning might be different or the flavors or the texture but it's the same main ingredient no matter what. If you're traveling to Mexico, you might find it does frequently in a quesadilla, Sometimes a quesadilla trio with floor de Calabasas (squash blossoms) huitlacoche, & then whatever other option they have.

Would you eat huitlacoche or quesadillas de huitlacoche? It's essentially a corn truffle. Yes, it's a corn fungus but it sure is tasty! What is your favorite food from Mexico? Have you? How do you like to eat it? Leave a comment below if you have any questions! :]

Hopefully, this answers all your questions. Just wait until you try huitlacoche quesadillas. If it doesn't, leave the question below & I'll see what I can do. Happy eating. I hope you order it the next time you see it on the menu now that you know exactly what it is, where it comes from,  & potentially what it'll taste like.

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Is Huitlacoche Safe to Eat? What is Huitlacoche? What Does It Taste Like?

What is Huitlacoche? What Does It Taste Like? Is Huitlacoche Safe to Eat? Corn Smut