June 23, 2021 by D.Fathia
Updated March 25, 2022
What are truffles?
Coming from a tropical semiarid region in the south of Tunisia where hot autumns and high-temperature degrees, I had the chance to enjoy one of the earth’s most delicious gifts.
As a kid, I used to spend hours on the hunt. The high temperature was not much of a problem for us, especially with the promise of a valuable treasure. The hunt was for truffles! And even today, a fully grown-up woman, I still spend hours in the wild looking for this fruit.
Sometimes, the small pleasures of childhood accompany us for years and decades later. Lucky are those who could still perform their childhood joyful routines. Being one of those lucky few, I would like to share with you this never-ending delightful experience with truffles.
If you are wondering what are truffles then keep scrolling and you will not regret it. If you are on the hunt for healthy foods then you definitely need to check this one.
What are truffles?
Truffles belong to the subterranean ascomycete fungus, predominantly one of the many species of the genus Tuber.
Though they are mostly spherical, truffles can be found in various deformed shapes. Yet, once cleaned and the skin removed you will probably get a spherical shape no matter what they originally looked like.
These fruits have been mentioned in the writings of ancient Sumerians, while Rome went one step further and identified three types of truffles. Plutarch, Cicero, and others dazzled by their origin and formation called them children of the earth and thought of them as the result of lightning and warmth.
The Roman cuisine relied on a variety of truffles harvested from Carthage and Libya, called Terfez. They remained an ordinary fruit until they were again valued at the tables of King Francis I of France. The Parisian cuisine bestowed an aura of glory upon this fruit and from there it became known to other culinary traditions.
Nothing would describe best other than the French gastronome, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, confession that truffles are “the diamond of the kitchen.”
Where do truffles grow?
Truffles like hot climates and drylands. That’s why the first recorded fruit was found in the Middle East.
With the species becoming well known elsewhere, varieties have been found in America, Asia, Europe, and Africa. Most known types to the western world grow around the roots of certain trees. However, in North Africa, for instance, truffles grow even in the deserts and where there are no trees.
Today, truffles are being cultivated. Surely, certain varieties cannot be sampled and planted, but it seems that specific types have been successfully cultivated after various efforts. Their nutritional value is a huge prize to seek and that’s why cultivation efforts are increasing.
Today, you don’t need to go around asking where do truffles grow; you can find them sold in most markets thanks to the growing number of farms specializing in this species. Italy for example has an annual festival to celebrate the harvest of these delicacies. So if you want to experience the truffle hunt and indulge in uncontrollable consumption, that’s your destination next fall.
How to use truffles?
If you haven’t eaten a truffle before, then you must be wondering what it tastes like. Well, they very earthy, pungent, and a bit salty. The odor is neutral, but they will definitely obtain a heavy odor once cooked.
That being said, it is important to know that truffles come in different shapes and colors. The most familiar ones are white and back truffles. Once cooked they both have the same texture, taste, and taste. Otherwise, the black variety is characterized by wrinkled skin and a harder pulp.
I’ve seen people eating these fruits, or vegetables as some would like to call, raw. I tried doing that myself, but I didn’t like the taste, maybe because I am used to eating them cooked or maybe because they are indeed meant to be cooked. If you cannot make up your mind, especially when trying them for the first time, then you can have a bite of a cooked truffle and another bite of a fresh one. Then, judge for yourself and stick to what suits you best.
The bottom line is, no matter how you eat them, truffles remain among the most beneficial and delicious healthy foods you will ever taste.
Are truffles good for you?
If you are familiar with these fruits and you realize how expensive they can get then you would probably turn the other way when you see them on stores’ shelves; you might probably smirk and say they are no good to me anyway.
Well, indeed truffles are very expensive because they are hard to find. Besides there is no enough production to influence the prices and they do no grow everywhere. However, though they will cost you a fortune, they are one of the best healthy foods to eat, especially if you are dieting or simply monitoring your food.
Truffles are dense in beneficial nutrients. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 100 grams contains the following nutrients:
- Calories: 284Total fat: 0.7 g
- Sodium: 35 mg
- Potassium: 754 mg
- Total carbohydrates: 73 g
- Dietary fiber: 70 g
- Protein: 9 g
- Vitamin B 6: 5 % of the daily value
- Iron: 32 % of the DV
- Magnesium: 20 % of the DV
- Calcium: 15 % of the DV
They are an excellent rich source of protein, iron, magnesium, calcium, and fiber. People have been using these fruits as medicine. Though there is no scientific evidence backing such practices, the claims are legitimate.
Truffles have antibacterial and antioxidant properties which might help in preventing or at least relieving several conditions. What are truffles, then? They are savory delicious subterranean fruits with high potentials for health.