What to do with those Mexican Tortillas

You’ve likely heard tortillas are a big part of the Mexican diet. It’s true. Even at a remote beach destination like Xcalak, the locals sell Mexican tortillas (corn tortillas) by the kilogram; a whopping 2.2 pounds.

That’s about 40 tortillas per package!

The roving grocery trucks in Xcalak sell 1 kg tortilla stacks warm, and ready to eat. The locals devour them – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But what does a gringo do with that many fresh Mexican tortillas?

Fresh corn tortillas have a countertop life of 3 days. Stretch that out to 5 days if you keep them in the fridge. But 40 tortillas is a lot, and (if you’re like us), you’ll probably have a hard time finishing all your Mexican tortillas before they turn into moldy, hard pucks.

After you’ve made all the tacos and quesadillas you can stand, here are some ideas for your leftover tortillas.

  • Make appetizers. Slice a tortilla into wide strips and coat with cooking oil. Wrap a tortilla strip around a bite-sized piece of pre-cooked meat (like sausage) and a slice of cheese. Pierce it all together with a toothpick, topping the toothpick with a jalapeno slice. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes.
  • Make tortilla chips. You can fry them in a skillet of oil, or bake them crispy in the oven. Try this chip recipe.
  • Avocado toast tortilla. The perfect snack. Mash an avocado, and mix in some cilantro and diced tomato. Fry up a tortilla until it’s crispy, then spread the avocado mix on top. Yum.
  • Frisbees! When Mexican corn tortillas get stale they get stiff. Walk out to the beach and practice your disc toss. The fish and hermit crabs will polish the tortilla-frisbees off.

If all you’ve ever eaten is wheat flour (gringo) tortillas I’m going to be a pal, and tell you all about Mexican tortillas.

  • Small. Mexican corn tortillas are 6 inches (15 cm), whereas flour tortillas are 12 in / 30 cm. The corn tortilla is half the size of its flour cousin, and usually less than half the calories.
  • Whole grain. Ground corn flour is a whole grain. It has a low glycemic index of 52. That’s less than whole wheat bread, white rice, or pasta.
  • Vegetarian. Homemade flour tortillas may use lard, but corn tortillas have just two ingredients: ground corn and water.
  • Gluten free. Kind of. The masa harina (corn flour) in Mexican tortillas is gluten free, but there’s a chance of cross contamination with flour products. So depending on your gluten-sensitivity, dig in.

Don’t be the international traveler that eats the same food in Xcalak that they eat at home. You’re in Mexico – embrace Mexican tortillas. Find new ways to enjoy them, even if you can’t finish them all.