Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Why would people be interested in moldy corn from our fields?

Dear Matthew Alice:

We grew a lot of corn this year, and some of it got this gross-looking gray and white crud on the ears, so we picked all those and put them out to be picked up by the trash man. A couple of hours later, some people came up to the door and asked if they could take the corn home. They looked pretty happy to have found moldy corn, and there was a little bit of a language barrier, so I just said yes and they said thank you and took the corn and walked off. What were they so happy about? What's the deal with the corn crud? Should we save our cruddy corn next year and sell it in a yard sale?

-- Flummoxed Farmers in Corn Crud Land

You threw out cuitlacoche, a Mexican delicacy that looks pretty awful but tastes like a cross between mushrooms and corn when it's picked early enough. It's called corn smut, though botanically it's Ustilago maydis, a soil- or airborne fungus that invades corn kernels and makes them blow up into big puffballs. Wait too long and the spores inside the kernel mature and turn black, then the stuff tastes awful. (Speaking of which, in the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs, coche means "black" and cuitla means "excrement." Black-poop soup was a popular dish. Aztec gourmets had nerves of steel....) You can buy cuitlacoche in cans, but I wouldn't recommend it. Some tiendas sell it fresh during corn season. It's cultivated in the U.S. on a limited basis. But if corn smut isn't your cup of mushrooms, next year plant U. maydis-resistant corn or, better yet, plant something else in the corn patch for several years. There's no chemical control available.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Discovery of priest’s letters reveals tension between church, locals

Culture Clash

Dear Matthew Alice:

We grew a lot of corn this year, and some of it got this gross-looking gray and white crud on the ears, so we picked all those and put them out to be picked up by the trash man. A couple of hours later, some people came up to the door and asked if they could take the corn home. They looked pretty happy to have found moldy corn, and there was a little bit of a language barrier, so I just said yes and they said thank you and took the corn and walked off. What were they so happy about? What's the deal with the corn crud? Should we save our cruddy corn next year and sell it in a yard sale?

-- Flummoxed Farmers in Corn Crud Land

You threw out cuitlacoche, a Mexican delicacy that looks pretty awful but tastes like a cross between mushrooms and corn when it's picked early enough. It's called corn smut, though botanically it's Ustilago maydis, a soil- or airborne fungus that invades corn kernels and makes them blow up into big puffballs. Wait too long and the spores inside the kernel mature and turn black, then the stuff tastes awful. (Speaking of which, in the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs, coche means "black" and cuitla means "excrement." Black-poop soup was a popular dish. Aztec gourmets had nerves of steel....) You can buy cuitlacoche in cans, but I wouldn't recommend it. Some tiendas sell it fresh during corn season. It's cultivated in the U.S. on a limited basis. But if corn smut isn't your cup of mushrooms, next year plant U. maydis-resistant corn or, better yet, plant something else in the corn patch for several years. There's no chemical control available.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Wall of Moms MAGA?

Non-profit expands efforts to include stopping flow of drugs to kids
Next Article

Thai Joints rule in the Heights

Pick up or delivery, Thai fans have it good on Adams Avenue
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close