You probably know all of this already, but I had to put it here for SEO reasons 🙂
Truffles are a type of fungi living entirely underground around the roots of trees. They are associated mostly with Oaks, Hazel and Beech. In Europe we know more than 25 species, however only a few of those have the gastronomic value people are looking for. In order for their spores to be spread, they must be eaten by animals attracted to the aroma.
The main reason for the cult like following of the truffles is the exclusive and intense aroma. A winter black truffle can fill a room with its strong and divine scent. It is long lasting and perfect for cooking a dish. In ancient times the truffles have been highly praised by the Ancient Greeks and Romans because they believed that they possess therapeutic and aphrodisiac properties.
Truffles are valuable because they are very rare and hard to find. It is estimated that the demand is 10 times greater than the supply. World production of truffles is insufficient to meet market demands, and the price goes up. Wild truffles are disappearing and cultivated truffles failed to lower prices.
The value of the truffles comes from their rarity and the time and dedication it takes to find them. The quantity of truffles gathered is several times less than the current demand which is another reason for the high prices. Even with cultivation in some areas of the world, the demand still greatly outstrips the supply.
The simple answer is NO! Their aroma is much less intense than the wild once. Wild truffles are growing in different and changing weather conditions, sometimes having to grow up to a meter deep into the ground to protect themselves against drought. Cultivated truffles are integrated to grow superficially and look pretty to the eye, but loosing much of the aroma in the process.
Tuber magnatum – White autumn truffle
Tuber melanosporum – Black winter truffle
Tuber brumale – Black winter truffle
Tuber aestivum – Black summer truffle
Tuber uncinatum – Black autumn truffle
Tuber macrosporum – Black autumn truffle
Tuber borchii – White spring truffle
You can check our fresh truffle availability chart here
Cleaning truffles is very easy, just wash them under the tap and brush all dirt away with a sponge. Make sure you wash them only before you intend to eat them as washing shortens their longevity. Once cleaned you can eat them peeled or unpeeled.
Different truffles last differently. For example the black winter truffle lasts less than 10 days in the fridge. It must be kept in a Tupperware and wrapped in a paper towel retaining the excess moisture. You must change the paper towel every 2 days to prevent them from rotting. The black summer truffles last longer and sometimes they can last up to a month in the fridge.
No method of preservation will keep the truffles texture and aromas fully. Although using fresh truffles is the best way to enjoy them, there are few ways you can preserve small quantities so you can have them when they are out of season.
Preserving in vinegar, liqueurs and oils are useful methods which will allow you to use the truffles in many cooking recipes. Soak them in soft apple vinegar, brandy or dry cherry – up to 50g to a litter to get the best effect. The truffles will not spoil but eventually will start to lose the aroma and get dry. You can use them to add to soups, stews, salads and even to coffee.
Truffles can be preserved in sunflower, walnut, peanut or extra virgin olive oil at the same ratio. Make sure you always keep the infused oil in the fridge.
You can preserve truffles in juice by placing clean truffles into a glass jar and filling it up with water, white wine, port or cherry. Close the lid and then cook in the pressure cooker for 30 minutes. After that store them in the fridge and this way they can last up to a year.
Freezing is another good way to keep truffles. Just wrap them in foil and place them into an airtight jar. That should keep them for up to 6 months.
The most efficient method of preserving is drying sliced truffles. It’s mostly used for black summer truffles because that way their flavour gets much more intense and delightful. Once dried they can be powdered and used as flavouring for stews, soups, sauces etc.