Maíz (maize) is a Caribbean word that means the cause of life. The Nahuatl name for corn is centli. After the arrival of the Spanish, maíz prevailed in Mexico. Corn is an annual herbaceous plant. It reaches a height of over three meters, depending on growing conditions, and bears unisexual flowers. Masculine flowers sprout at the ends of stems; female blossoms grow in the axils of the leaves, forming dense spikes of tightly inserted grains, called ears.
Chalqueño corn comes from a conical maize variety endemic to Mexico.
Chalqueño breeds produce conical ears, with multiple rows of kernels that vary in texture, ranging from farinaceous to popcorn grains. They form the production base of Mexico’s central agricultural zones and different varieties are used to make tortillas, tamales, antojitos, pozoles and popcorn, etc. Other parts of the plant have uses. For example, husks are used to wrap tamales or become food for livestock.
Chalqueño is one of the country's most productive varieties due to its large, conical ears and numerous rows of large kernels that range from starchy to semi-crystalline; color ranges between white, yellow, red, pink and blue, in various shades.
Chalqueño corn is grown in zones with good soil and moisture in the Central Highlands (Hidalgo, Mexico State, Mexico City, Tlaxcala, Puebla); in the North Highlands (Zacatecas and Durango) and also the Southern Highlands (Oaxaca).
Use and consumption vary by kernel color. White and yellow varieties go to make tortillas and flour for tamales; blue and red kernels become antojitos and pinole; because of their size, the ears’ dried leaves are the most popular as tamal husks and for artisanal craft use. Nahua, Mazahua, Purépecha, Otomí, Popoloca, Chatino, Mazateco and Cuicateco communities use them for tortillas, antojitos, tamales and atole.


Mole de olla
Torta de elote