Black truffle belongs to one of the most expensive genera of mushrooms and family of truffles. The representative of the kingdom of eukaryotes is not distinguished by attractive external data. All the value lies in the taste and useful properties of the product. And the high cost is due to the low prevalence in nature and the cost of growing black truffles.
Black Truffle Mushroom Description
Black truffle is sometimes called black gold, a prince, a diamond. In nature, there are more than 30 species of them, but only 8 are eaten.
Depending on the type of black truffle, the characteristics change, but in general, the fungus has the following indicators:
- body shape – disproportionate, with faces from 4 to 6 pieces;
- tuber diameter – from 3 to 20 cm (average – 6-8 cm);
- weight – 200-600 g (basic weight – 400-450 g);
- feature – there are no legs and caps, like mushrooms familiar to everyone (in appearance it is similar to a potato, stone, tuber);
- the surface is rough and wrinkled (like warts);
- the structure of the pulp is marble, as it consists of a huge number of veins of different light shades, the main tone is dark;
- spores – oval or spindle-shaped in shape, microscopic in size, dark brown in color;
- the taste is pleasantly pronounced.
The black truffle is often compared to the white variety of the truffle family, but they are different mushrooms.
Black truffle vs white truffle Differences:
- different shape and color – white on the outside can be brown, but inside is always light, and the shape resembles Jerusalem artichoke;
- place of distribution – black truffle is considered French, white – Italian;
- the light counterpart has a richer aroma and taste;
- black mushroom is more affordable (25-50 euros per dish in a restaurant with a delicacy), white representatives are rare and expensive in cost – you will have to pay at least 200-300 euros in a restaurant.
A feature of the black truffle: as the plant develops, the color of the surface of the fungus changes. Initially, it is dark brown, and when it grows to a full age it becomes black and charcoal. At the same time, if you press on the body, the top layer acquires an orange-rusty color.
Blue Milk Mushroom (Lactarius indigo) detailed guide.
Types of Black Truffles Mushroom
The mushroom is divided into 2 main types – winter and summer, but in reality, there are much more black truffles. There are also false truffles in the mushroom kingdom. They are very similar in appearance and other features to Tuber melanosporum.
Muscat truffle or winter truffle
The Latin name of the variety is Tuber brumale. It bears fruit from early November to mid-February. In the wild, it grows in Ukraine, Italy, France and the Southwestern districts of Switzerland. Prefers the neighborhood of linden or hazel trees.
Structure of Muscat truffle or winter truffle:
- diameter varies from 7 to 20 cm;
- minimum weight – 120 g, maximum – 1500 g;
- surface color – purple with red reflections;
- shape – spherical;
- body structure – with growths;
- aroma – with notes of musk.
summer truffle or burgundy truffle
The scientific biological name is Tuber aestivum. Distributed in the Crimea, the European part of Russia, the Caucasus, Europe. Grows under oak, pine and hazel. Fruits from June to mid-October.
Structure of summer truffle or burgundy truffle:
- body diameter – a maximum of 10-12 cm;
- weight – 400-450 g;
- the color of the pulp is initially light, as it grows, it becomes yellow-brown or gray-brown;
- taste and aroma – nutty sweet with barely noticeable notes of algae.
ordinary black truffle
The scientific name is Tuber mesentericum or uncinatum. France is considered the homeland. It grows underground, where deciduous trees are planted, sometimes found under needles. The fruiting period is from early autumn to early December. Conditionally considered an autumn mushroom.
Structure of ordinary black truffle:
- diameter – 3–9 cm;
- the weight of one mushroom is up to 320 g;
- pulp color – light brown (milk chocolate);
- the taste is reminiscent of cocoa, but with a slight bitterness.
Himalayan Black Truffle
The name in Latin is Tuber himalayensis. It belongs to the main winter species, as it is harvested from December to February. Tibet is considered to be the homeland, from where the name came from. It enters into symbiosis with oak or pine.
Structure of Himalayan Black Truffle:
- body diameter – a maximum of 2 cm (because of this, they are rarely used in cooking);
- mushroom weight – 5–50 g;
- aftertaste – nutty (very rich, but disappears quickly);
- the color of the pulp is black-violet.
Here is a detailed guide on Mushrooms that grow Underground are the truffles.
Chinese black truffle
Tuber indicum grows in Southwest China under pine, chestnut and oak. If conditions allow, it bears fruit from November to March. In case of bad weather – only from December to February.
Characteristic of Chinese black truffle:
- diameter – from 2 to 10 cm;
- body weight – from 20 to 500 g;
- color – dark brown;
- aroma and taste are practically absent, there are no specific ones.
Due to the very weak taste and smell, the mushroom is aromatized during artificial cultivation.
The difference between this category of mushrooms and the black truffle is its relation to the class and family. If the second is a truffle genus, then the first have nothing to do with it. Most often, false truffles are inedible.
There are many. But only 2 species have the greatest resemblance to a real black truffle:
- Melanogaster Bruma. The second name is truffle grebe. Tubers are 2–8 cm in diameter, weigh 20–400 g. The color in a young state is light cream, at the end of the growing season it is dark brown, the surface is like a grid.
Feature – the mushroom is very soft, but elastic. If you squeeze it in your hand and immediately release it, it will instantly restore its shape.
- Deer. Other names are Pargu, Elafomices, Pargushka. The sizes are small – from 1 to 4 cm in diameter, weight 10-50 g. During collection, the mushroom has a very dark color and a granular surface.
Black Truffles Mushroom Habitat and Ecology
The black truffle grows almost all over the world, as they learned to grow it artificially. In the wild, it is always found in France (Périgord, Dordogne, Gironde, Lot, Vaucluse). Many of them are in Italy, Spain, Belarus, Romania.
There are relatively few of them in China. Most often, this is artificial cultivation (it is Chinese truffles that are considered the most inexpensive).
Ecologists say that the fungus has a destructive effect on nature, since in places with mycelium, the extinction of all vegetation is noted. This is the main sign for the detection of black truffle.
There are other factors that indicate the presence of a valuable product:
- Areas torn by wild boars. Mushrooms emit a specific smell. Wild boars are looking for them, digging the soil with their noses. They do not eat out all the mushrooms from the pits, but they contribute to the spread of spores.
- Accumulation of insects. Red flies flock to the smell in the depressions made by animals. They lay their larvae in micelles, which attracts other insects.
These signs are mainly noticed by amateur mushroom pickers. Those who search professionally (as a business) use other methods. The position of connoisseurs is based on the exclusion of a decrease in the quality of truffles (after tearing by wild boars / accumulation of flies (and in disputes of their larvae) the product is not suitable for sale).
To collect mushrooms without damage and other flaws, “hunters” use assistants:
- Pigs. They are able to “hear” the truffle aroma from 25 meters away and find gourmet food in a matter of minutes. But there is a drawback – excessive love for truffles drives animals crazy. Sometimes pigs are unstoppable (they just eat and trample everything).
- Dogs. Four-legged friends will not gnaw and trample on mushrooms. Dog training begins at birth, the process takes a long time (the puppy is given milk with black truffle so that he gets used to the smell and loves it). The cost of such bloodhounds is very high.
Most often, businessmen use the second method – despite the “outrageous” price, the costs quickly pay off.
Black Truffles Mushroom Useful properties and calorie content
Black truffle is a dietary product. 100 g contains only 25 kcal, 3 g of protein, 2 g of carbohydrates and 0.5 g of fat. The mushroom consists of many useful elements:
- vitamin C, PP, group B;
- alimentary fiber;
- minerals – iodine, sulfur, magnesium, calcium, selenium, phosphorus, iron, potassium.
Taken together, nutrients have the following properties:
- improve the psycho-emotional state, eliminating depression, irritability and apathy;
- strengthen the immune system;
- beneficial effect on the heart and blood vessels;
- restore the activity of the large intestine;
- regenerate the surface layers of the skin;
- accelerate metabolic processes;
- reduce the level of bad cholesterol in the blood;
- reduce sugar in diabetes;
- slightly stop the pain of gout;
- improve the performance of the endocrine and nervous system, adrenal glands;
- increase libido and potency;
- contribute to the restoration of vision;
- slow down aging;
- normalize the functionality of the female reproductive system.
But not everyone is allowed to use black truffle. There are contraindications:
- age category up to 12 years;
- stomach ulcer and 12 duodenal ulcer;
- allergic reaction to the fungus.
What does black truffle taste like?
The first thing gourmets talk about is the exquisite aroma and taste. Specific notes depend on the subspecies of black truffle. Some give cocoa, others – nuts, others – musk, etc. Based on these indicators, culinary specialists around the world use a particular mushroom for certain dishes.
To feel the whole harmony of the taste of the mushroom is possible only with the right approach to cooking:
- the product is thoroughly washed under running water (sand is sometimes found inside, so experienced chefs initially soak in water for 30-40 minutes);
- cut in slices, but not with a knife, but with a special tool with a blade, translucent type slices are obtained;
- sliced sprinkle dishes or use for cooking (cut into pieces and fried).
Add to Black Truffles Mushroom:
- fish and meat when frying, stewing;
- vegetable dishes, risotto;
- first meal;
- pizza, hamburgers;
- desserts – puddings, ice cream, etc.;
- truffle sauce;
- black caviar as a topping;
- in french fries.
Black truffle is used in the preparation of various dishes, but as independent – very rarely, due to the high cost of the product. It is baked, stewed, boiled, fried, and eaten even raw.
Black Truffles Mushroom Application in cosmetology and medicine
Due to the content in the black truffle of a large number of nutrients that have a healing and restorative effect, the mushroom is actively used in medicine and cosmetology. It is introduced into the composition of some drugs aimed at:
- to get rid of gout and joint pain;
- to restore male potency;
- to strengthen the female reproductive system (against infertility);
- to improve visual acuity.
Manufacturers of cosmetic products produce moisturizing and anti-aging (anti-wrinkle) creams, serums, oils. Shampoos and conditioners are made from black truffles, they are added to perfumes.
Black Truffles Mushroom Prices
The cost of a black truffle directly depends on the subspecies of the mushroom and the country where it is sold. In Europe, they are ready to pay from 1500 to 2000 dollars for 1 kg of the most valuable species.
Why is black truffle so expensive?
For many people, these are unimaginable numbers, but there is an explanation for such price brackets:
- due to the specific aroma and taste, the mushroom attracts a person like drug addiction;
- it does not grow anywhere;
- it is difficult to obtain and grow it yourself;
- symbiosis is possible only with certain trees;
- to get a mushroom, you need to dig a hole;
- specially trained dogs are used for search;
- short fruiting season;
- instant reduction in the weight of the truffle due to the evaporation of moisture from it;
- too short shelf life – after 12-15 days it is forbidden to use it;
- in society is an object of status and luxury.
When the weather is unfavorable (no rain), the cost jumps several times. So, in 2012, 9,000 euros were asked for 1 kg.
In conditions of artificial fruiting, black truffle is rarely grown for personal consumption. High labor costs and financial investments are required.
More often, mycelium is cultivated for business development. The profitability of such products is high. The profit is almost 250%.
But to create conditions and buy mycelium, you will have to initially invest a large amount. In addition, full payback occurs in at least 3-4 years, when the farmer harvests a full crop.
In conclusion, black truffles are a delicious and rare mushroom that can add flavor to any dish. They are worth the high price tag for the unique flavor they add. If you have the opportunity to try black truffles, don’t miss out!