Flor de Maguey : The Agave Flower

We primarily know the maguey as being edible for its “juice” which can be used to make the fermented drink pulque or the distilled drinks mezcal, tequila, bacanora and raicilla (as well as all the un-named vino de agaves). But…..did you know the agave can be eaten? The baked pencas (1) and quiote (2) are quite edible (3).

  1. the leaves of the agave
  2. the flowering stalk
  3. see Post Pulque Production for further information on eating the quiote
Baked quiote at the mercado

The outer petals of the maguey flowers are also edible. Remove the inner parts of the flower as these can be bitter. Stew them with onion, garlic, tomato and some green chile until they soften up (may take about 30 minutes) and eat them in a taco. This is a very rare treat as the maguey takes a long time to flower (between 7 – 40 years) and a maguey plant will only flower once in its lifetime. After the maguey has flowered it dies. In Hidalgo, the State of Mexico, Nayarit, Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala it is called Gualumbo (or hualumbo) and come from the pulque maguey Agave salmiana. Its flavour has been described as being similar to jicama or even chicken.

In Hidalgo, Puebla, Durango, Tamaulipas and Chihuahua maguey flower buds are also called cacayas (or bayusas), they are cooked in a similar manner to Gualumbo and are used medicinally to treat stomach problems, gastritis and as an anti-parasitic and as a worming agent. Before cooking the flowers they should be prepared by boiling them in water with a little salt (and tequesquite – if you can get it) and then draining them well. They can be cooked in omelettes; with onion and cream (as you would chile rajas); fried with onion, potatoes and chile arbol or sautéed with chorizo and used as a filling for enchiladas.

Tacos de Gualumbo


  • 250 gr maguey flowers
  • 1 finely chopped small onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 dried arbol chiles
  • 2 eggs
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Corn oil


  1. Prepare the maguey flowers by removing the centre of the flowers, you only need the outer section. Place in a pot and cover with water and a pinch of salt (or tequesquite if you can get it).Bring to the boil and simmer until flowers become tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the flowers and discard the cooking water
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion and garlic.
  3. Add the chopped chilies and move constantly so that the chiles are not burned (approximately 1-2 minutes)
  4. Add the cooked flowers to the mix
  5. Add the eggs and stir until they are cooked.

Serve with tortillas.

Tortitas de Flor de Maguey

Ingredients (for 4-6 servings):

  • 500g maguey flowers
  • 2 eggs (yolks and white separated)
  • 200 g panela cheese (crumbled) (1)
  • salt to taste
  • oil (for frying)

For the sauce:

  • 15 tomate verde (tomatillos)
  • 6 serrano chiles
  • 1 cup of coriander leaves
  • salt to taste


Prepare the flowers by removing the inner, bitter part and rinse. Cover with water and cook 20-30 minutes, over medium heat, until soft.

Drain and let cool a little. Season with salt.

Using a small handful of flowers, form a small patty with some cheese in the centre

Beat the egg whites until stiff peak and add the yolks, one by one, mixing well until incorporated.

Dip the tortitas (patties) in the egg mixture, covering them well and fry them in medium/hot oil. (160°C)

Blend the ingredients for the sauce and sauté it in a small amount of oil until it darkens several shades (but is still green).

Add the pancakes to the sauce and bring to the boil. Turn down heat and simmer until hot (a few minutes)

  1. Panela cheese (or Queso panela) is a white, fresh and smooth Mexican cheese of pasteurized cow’s milk. It is an unaged, non-melting farmer cheese made by curdling milk with a vegetable-derived acid, such as lemon juice. It is similar to the Indian cheese paneer

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