In all probability, you must have heard about the truffles, both the fungi and the chocolate type. For the sake of this article, we shall center on truffles as a mushroom. Truffles are considered to be a great delicacy in some parts of the world.
How are they fetched?
Truffles are hypogeous mushrooms which mean that they need to be dug out of the ground. Truffle is just the fruit and not the entire mushroom or fungi. The hyphae, which is the body of the fungi, is located within the soil. It is believed that this wonderful delicacy is buried within the soil in order to protect themselves against forest fires and extreme temperatures.
Where are they found?
Truffles are abundant in countries like Italy, France, Slovenia, Croatia, and some parts of the Middle East and North Africa. They are also grown in the US, particularly in Oregon and Washington DC. They can be found under the rock of oak, chestnut, elm, pine, and willow trees. However, truffles are rarely found under trees like maple and cedar.
How can you find them?
Since truffles are underground, then there must be a way by which you will recognize their presence. When truffles mature, they will develop and produce a powerful scent which is noticed by animals. Small animals’ diggings around a tree root are a good indication of the presence of truffles.
Furthermore, the scent of truffles can even attract bigger animals like squirrel, dogs, and pigs. In the past, female pigs are often used to search for truffles. This is because the scent produced by these mushroom is believed to mimic the scent of a male pig sex hormone. Recently, dogs are being trained to search for truffles.
There are different kinds of truffles and they generally look different from each other. Hence, you need to familiarize yourself with the different varieties of truffles. Importantly, there are a few mushrooms that may look like truffles but are actually poisonous. It is now left for you and your ability to differentiate between these 2. We do recommend that you consult a professional first before you eat those mushrooms you have unearthed somewhere.
Here are the few popular truffles you should know
- Perigord truffle – blue-black on the exterior, becomes brown-black as it grows. Also called French black truffle and is found in Spain, Australia, and the US.
- Piedmont truffle – light-colored and brittle, dark-brown as it matures.
- Summer truffle– found in France, Italy and Spain, black in the outside and off-white internally.
- Winter truffle – found in France, Italy and Spain
- Tuscan truffle– chocolate brown and white
Truffle is a great option to include in your menu. This wonderful mushroom species will surely impress your family and garnish your cooking skills. Although they are rare and costly, the culinary experience is always worth it.