Sunday, October 4, 2009

Scary Foods

I will eat anything- well, try it anyway. Ok, everything except meat. But plant wise- why not? Just this year, I have tried Mulberries and Persimmons right off the tree, Wild Asparagus, Oyster Mushrooms that I helped inoculate, Native Passion Fruit, Lotus, Kousa Dogwood fruit, Toothache plant (THAT was interesting...) and Stevia. Ginkgo fruit is on the list, which, if you have ever smelled its flesh, you would know how very daring my plan is. (Most people say that the fruit of this tree smells like puke. I am very excited...)
Anyway just this week, I have run into two plant products which are entirely edible, that I cannot bring myself to try. The first is a ghost pepper, given to me by the Venezianos of Sweetwater Farm in Louisa. I like spicy foods, but I am absolutely terrified of this pepper. The ghost pepper has a Scoville rating of 1,001,304 SHU- WAY hotter than a habanero. In fact, in certain parts of the world, people rub the tops of their fences with the oil from this pepper to keep elephants out. Elephants! I might get brave and make a hot sauce out of it, but right now the pepper and I are having a bit of a standoff. It is the hottest pepper in the world, and I still value my taste buds...
So, the second plant product I discovered that I WILL not eat is Corn Smut. (First of all- the name is not so enticing.) I have a prejudice about corn anyway, what with its taking over the idea of real food and all, so I don't plant much of it. I did have some stalks of a dent corn called 'Bloody Butcher' which was coming along nicely, when I saw one of the cobs on the ground with these gray leechy looking things surrounding it. It looked like the corn was nursing this colony of fat, gray larvae of some kind- really, really gross. So, I poked it. Turns out, those distended, sick looking things WERE the kernels, swollen to twenty times the normal size and infested with a black fungus that is considered a delicacy in some parts of the world. Egads. Here is a link to some one's blog who did wind up eating it. Gives me shivers...


  1. that is called Bhut Jholokia and it is endemic to the northeastern region of the sub-continent: Assam, etc.

    there it is used to flavor many things, and not simply as elephant-retardant.

    i'm not sure how easy it is to grow over here but there is a market for it, as with many things...

  2. Eat the corn fungus -- but only if you call it huitlacoche (much more appetizing name). Put a little in a quesadilla and enjoy the deliciousness. I promise.

  3. Thanks for your encouragement, Antonia. Do you know where I can find some huitacoche? I am sure mine is past its prime by now...