Truffles & Mushrooms Guide by Marky’s

Fresh Truffles 101: Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy Them

Trying fresh truffles is definitely a thing to have on the bucket list. 
The truffle is one of the most enigmatic edible things that the Nature has to offer humans. Looking like a shriveled potato, once defined as the food of the devil, and used to make remedies in the past, this mysterious fungus will today cost you at least $40 per ounce.
But as soon as the smell of the truffle touches your nose, you’ll realize that was the worthiest expense in your life.
You should be ready for it and know the details of buying good truffles and consuming them with the greatest enjoyment possible.
Below, you’ll find answers to popular questions about truffles. Hope these facts, tips, and tricks will help you make informed and satisfying choices. Let’s go!

What Makes the Truffle Such a Desired Delicacy? 

The flavor. It turns this featureless round bulb into a heavenly treat.
Since ancient times, the flavor of the fresh truffle has been the source of inspiration for myth makers, pharmacists, chefs, and gourmets.
It is usually described as musky, earthy, grassy, nutty, and garlicky. All at once. And you’ll add your personal impression to this list after you try a slice of the fungus.
The flavor is also a perfect indicator of freshness of the truffle. If it makes you wrinkle up your nose and turn away, you definitely shouldn’t eat it.

What Are Fresh Truffles?

Simply put, the truffle is a type of mushroom that grows underground, in the roots of oaks, hazelnuts, willows, and some other trees. 
But not everywhere an oak tree can become home to little truffles. This oak tree should grow in the specific climate, where days are warm and moist, and nights are cool. 
France and Italy can boast of such natural conditions and, as a result, of the world’s best quality truffle harvests. 
Still, not every truffle is a fancy edible delicacy. Out of 40 species of truffles (or even 70, as some sources claim), only about ten species can be enjoyed for dinner.
They are distinguished mainly by color and season.
    • Truffles can be black and white, depending on the soil where they grow and the trees that provide them with essential nutrients.
    • Truffles can be summer and winter, depending on the time when they are harvested.

What Do Fresh Truffles Look Like?

At first glance, they may seem little potatoes covered with dirt or little lumps of wet soil, which smell like only truffles can smell. When you look closely at truffles, you’ll realize that each of them has its own, unique bumps and hollows.
The skin of the fungus is rough like a lump of soil and should be firm like the skin of any fresh mushroom. If a truffle is squishy, it’s gone bad for sure. 

Why Do Truffles Cost a Fortune?

Not all of them, actually. Yet, cheap truffles are the same as a free lunch. There’s just no such thing. 
You already know that truffles are picky creatures that will grow only under particular natural conditions. Not every place on the Earth has such conditions or is good enough to create them with humans’ help.
Yes, black truffles can be cultivated in special orchards. The experience of American farmers has proved that. But maintaining the ideal conditions in truffle orchards is a hard job, which will bring its priceless fruits several years after it’s started.
Collecting truffles in the wild takes a well-versed hunter, a smart dog, and a lot of patience. Shipping of fresh fungi, which have been just dug out of the ground, should be swift and careful. 
So should be serving of this delicacy. Truffles have a very short self-life and will turn into flavorless little mushroom lumps five-ten days after they leave their homes under the trees.
All these facts are always considered when the price for fresh truffles is set. Now you know what this number includes.

Can I Eat a Truffle Raw?

Truffles mostly accompany other foods and should be raw or very slightly cooked when added to them. 
High temperature will kill the aroma of the truffle. And this is the last thing you want to happen when you’re cooking a special dinner. 
Can you eat a fresh truffle as is, without anything? Well, yes, you can. But it’s the same as eating a raw mushroom. Despite the flavor, you’re unlikely to enjoy it on its own very much.

How to Store Fresh Truffles?

Mind their shelf-life. It’s five days for white truffles and ten days for black truffles. Count from the day when they were found and shipped to you. 
Blacks can be kept frozen in an airtight container for up to six months. But during this period, they will lose most of their beautiful flavor, unfortunately.
The best idea is to use fresh truffles within the first two-three days after your buy them. And here are the tips to store them safe and sound during this time:
    • Keep truffles clean and dry in an airtight container on the top shelf in the fridge. You’d better check them every day and to wipe condensation that collects inside the container.
    • You can place them in sand or a paper towel. Just change the towel every day. 
    • Rice is sometimes used to store truffles. But it absorbs their flavor, so you should be careful with it. Still, it’s a good idea if you want to cook rice with truffles.
    • To flavor up your dishes, store truffles with eggs or cheese. Eggs will be infused with the powerful aroma and taste fabulous when scrambled. “Truffled” cheese will make anything you grate it on undoubtedly perfect.

What to Cook with Fresh Truffles?

Anything where you want to add more multifaceted flavor.
Slices of truffles will harmoniously complement 
    • pasta or rice
    • baked potatoes (with or without chicken legs) 
    • scrambled eggs
    • herb salads
    • even artichoke soup.
Add a few slices of truffle at the very end of cooking. So it will fully release its natural aroma.
Bon appetit!