Truffles, characteristics and nutritional properties

The truffles are classified within the fungi kingdom , genus Tuber , and there are different varieties such as Tuber melanosporumTuber aestivum , Tuber magnatum , etc. they are mushrooms that grow underground and have nothing to do with chocolate truffles . We can find two types of truffles: the black truffle and the white truffle . The black truffle can be found in greater numbers and can also be cultivated, while the white truffle is less numerous and it is not possible to carry out its cultivation, being much more expensive than the black one.

It is the trained dogs that find these delicacies of nature by the aroma that the truffles give off when they are ripe (which can take about 9 years to reach this state), since they are underground and grow underground at a variable depth of between 10 and 50 cm. Although expert truffle hunters may perceive some curious signs of its presence such as, for example, on the surface of the soil above the truffle, no vegetation grows. The truffle has to be collected very carefully using specific knives so as not to damage the area.

The truffle usually grows in limestone and stony soils, close to the roots of trees such as oaks, holm oaks or hazelnuts in areas with a mainly mountainous climate. Aragon (specifically Teruel) is where the black winter truffle or tuber melanosporum is most commonly found in the wild and where the most cultivated throughout Spain. It is precisely in our country where up to 50% of all world production is obtained.

Both Egyptians, Romans and Greeks already consumed the truffle and knew how to appreciate it in gastronomy and also as a natural remedy for its medicinal properties.

Nutritional properties of truffles

Truffles have a nutritional content similar to mushrooms .

The truffle is a food rich in minerals , it mainly has potassium, phosphorus, iodine, selenium, iron, calcium, magnesium and sulfur. Regarding vitamins , we can highlight the content in vitamin C and in vitamins of group B (with a greater amount of B2, B3 and B9)

They contain a low amount of carbohydrates , have practically no fat, have a large amount of water and are around 50 to 90 kcal per 100 grams. We could differentiate in terms of carbohydrate content of black truffle and white truffle, the latter being lighter.

Truffles also provide us with fiber and vegetable proteins (black truffle more than white truffle)

How are truffles eaten?

The truffle can be eaten fresh, mainly from autumn and during winter, in fact, once harvested it should be consumed in a period of no more than 10 days (it can be frozen whole or in sheets). But in addition, the truffle is available throughout the year dehydrated or also canned in oil, in wine or in its own juice.

The truffle has an intense aroma and flavor, so it is used in small quantities, and in fact, it can be used as another condiment in a recipe (a seasoning with a much higher price). However, the organoleptic characteristics of truffles may vary depending on the terrain in which it is grown. Externally it has a rough texture, has a rounded shape and does not usually weigh more than 180 or 200 grams.

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