July 2010

Delicious, Nutritious Corn Smut!

American farmers have spent untold millions of dollars trying to eliminate corn smut, which is a fungal disease of corn.  Meanwhile, in Latin America people have been happily eating the corn smut.  And it turns out they were right!

Corn smut is properly known as Ustilago maydis, which infects the developing kernels of corn and transforms them into gigantic gray-black blobs, which look something like a brain made out of mushrooms.  In Latin America the resulting blobs are known as huitlacoche, and are used as a filling.  Corn tumors may not sound very delicious, but a lot of people swear by them!

Well it turns out that the joke's on us, because huitlacoche is incredibly nutritious!  And, if prepared properly (and from a fresh source, not canned) many people swear it's delicious as well.