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What is a truffle?

Truffles are the most delicate edible mushrooms globally, as they only grow in particular places and can only be harvested at certain times. The ashlar mushrooms grow underground and only in exceptional soils: they must be very lime and water-containing. This is mostly under oak, black linden, poplar, or beech. There, truffles form a connection with the roots of their host plant. Ripe truffles give off a strong odor that is, e.g., B. attracts wild boars. The animals dig for the truffles, eat them and excrete the spores again so that the truffle can spread further.

What is a truffle?

The truffle harvest time is also different: While the (more expensive) white truffle is only harvested between October and the end of December, the black truffle season starts from the end of December to mid-March. In addition, black truffles come from Australia from July to September, so they are available almost all year round.

What is the difference between white and black truffles?

White truffles (tuber magnatum) have an intense smell and a subtle taste. They do not tolerate heat and are therefore sliced ​​over the food at the very end.

On the other hand, black truffle (tuber melanosporum) has an intense taste and a subtle scent and can be cooked perfectly. 

In numbers, one could say: black truffle consists of 80% taste and 20% smell, white truffle consists of 80% smell and 20% taste.

Where Fresh can you buy truffles?

Fresh truffles are best bought from a dealer who is familiar with the noble mushroom. Truffle products such as truffle pastes, pickled truffles, or truffle butter are available in delicatessen shops or the delicatessen corner of well-stocked supermarkets. You can also find many high-quality truffle products on the Internet. 

What should you watch out for when buying truffles?

Good quality fresh truffles should be perfect in terms of smell, appearance, firmness, and aroma.

This can be seen as follows: A good truffle is visually undamaged, has no holes or bruises. Otherwise, it would spoil very quickly.

Handle it (carefully): The consistency should only be slightly elastic, not too hard or rubbery. The truffle should also be quite heavy to its size. The size of the truffle doesn’t matter, by the way. Whether small or large, there is no difference in quality here. Truffles are (as a rule) only harvested when they are ripe and give off their scent, which attracts the truffle dogs or pigs.

Smell: White truffles should have an intense aroma. The components mushrooms, honey, hay, garlic, and wet earth can be found here. If the tuber does not smell of anything, it is not yet ripe. The smell of black truffle is reminiscent of mushrooms, cocoa, and musk.

How long do truffles last, and how do I store them?

It is best to buy truffles on the day they are consumed. Or get one the day in advance. Truffles rapidly lose their aroma after three days. You can say that truffles then lose about 10% of their smell every day. You should keep them in a well-closable glass, e.g., B. screw jar. Wrap the truffles in kitchen paper, place them in the mirror, close tightly and store them in the refrigerator (vegetable compartment). The paper towel changes daily as it absorbs moisture from the truffles. Otherwise, the truffle could become soft. Strongly scented, white truffles can also be placed in well-sealable containers, e.g., B. store together with rice, then the rice gets a great aroma.

Soaked in neutral oil, the tuber will keep for 2-3 weeks. Fresh truffles should not be washed with water but only carefully removed from any dirt with a paintbrush or a fine brush, as otherwise valuable aroma is lost.

 Can I freeze truffles?

Freezing the truffles is possible. For this purpose, the truffles should be individually wrapped in aluminum foil. It then lasts for about one year.

Where do truffles come from, and what do they cost?

Truffles also grow in Germany, but they are not harvested because they are under nature protection here.

Truffles can, e.g., B. from France, Italy, Switzerland, Croatia, Australia, or China.

White truffle: One of the most expensive and sought-after truffles is the white Alba truffle (Latin: tuber magnatum pico) or Piedmont truffle. He is wanted from October to early January in the area of ​​the northern Italian city of Alba. The distribution area of ​​the white Alba truffle stretches over a belt south of the Alps from France via Italy north to Veneto, Istria, and Dalmatia. Still, it is primarily in Italy, from Piedmont to Abruzzo. White truffles also come from Istria, Serbia, and Hungary. The price fluctuates between 1,000 and 9,000 euros per kilo. The prices depend on the supply, quality, and demand of the truffles.

Black truffle

The black truffle (tuber melanosporum) is also called the Perigord truffle and traditionally comes from the French Perigord. The price fluctuates between 1000 and 200 euros per kilo. Black truffles also grow in Istria, Spain, or Italy.

Autumn truffles or Burgundy truffles (tuber uncinatum) are harvested from October to January and come from France, Switzerland, or Austria. They cost around 500 to 1000 euros per kilo.

Black truffles also come from Australia between July and September.

The black summer truffles (tuber aestivum) are much cheaper than the winter truffles. They have an excellent price-performance ratio at 200 to 350 euros per kilo and are often used in gastronomy. The taste is not that intense. They are available from May to September. They mostly come from Provence, Istria, Italy, Spain, Hungary, and Turkey.

The so-called China truffles (tuber Indicum) are visually very similar to the expensive Perigord truffle, but they are much weaker in culinary terms. It has hardly any smell and hardly any taste.  

How are truffles searched for?

Truffles are searched for with the help of specially trained pigs or dogs. Truffle dogs are primarily used because the pigs like to eat the truffles themselves and are challenging to tame. Dogs also like to eat truffles, but they are better to train and (mostly) listen to the commands.

Can you grow truffles?

Truffles require an exceptional climate, a unique environment, and the nature of the soil. Truffles can only be cultivated, that is, creating the right conditions for them. There are z. B. Oak trees with the truffle spores “inoculated.” The first truffles can only grow after that approx. 10-15 years.

What can you cook with truffles?

Black truffles can withstand heat and are perfect for braising and cooking simultaneously, e.g., for sauces, farces, cream soups, and braised beef with truffle sauce.

White truffles should not be heated. You slice them over the cooked dish. Perfect z. B. with fried or scrambled eggs, pasta, risotto, mashed potatoes.

Also read: Difference Between Unicellular And Multicellular Organisms.

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