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« Looking for truffles »

To find black truffles

Black truffle looks like a dark, almost black tuber. The flesh of the truffle is at first light, then darkens to a purple-black color, while white streaks are noticeable. The fruit body is underground, its shape is irregular, tuberous. The diameter of the fruiting body is 3-9 centimeters. The color is red-brown, later turns into a charcoal black, if you press on the mushroom, it becomes a rusty color. The surface of the black truffle is covered with a lot of irregularities with 4-6 edges. The flesh of French black truffles is tough, initially light, pink-brown or gray in color with reddish or white veins forming a marble pattern on the cut. With age, the flesh darkens from spores, and its color turns dark brown or black-purple, but the veins remain. The pulp has a characteristic strong aroma and a bitter pleasant taste. Dark brown spore powder. Spores are oval or fusiform, curved.

Areas of Perigord Truffles

truffle Although the name of these mushrooms indicates a settlement, they are common not only in Perigord. Black truffles are harvested all over France, but mainly in its southeastern part: Dordogne, Lot, Vaucluse and Gironde. Also, these mushrooms grow in Spain and Italy. These delicacies are cultivated in the PRC. It has long been thought that truffles are growths on tree roots, but these are marsupial mushrooms that have two characteristic features. Firstly, the fruit bodies are underground at a depth of 5 to 30 centimeters, so they are difficult to find, and, secondly, they are suitable for extremely poor calcareous soil, while an alliance with trees is necessary. At the same time, truffles are very picky about the choice of trees; they prefer mutual cooperation mainly with hazel and oak trees. The tree provides the necessary nutrients to the truffles, and the mycelium envelops the roots, which increases their ability to absorb water and mineral salts. In addition, the mycelium protects the roots from various diseases, such as late blight. But the rest of the vegetation around the tree perishes, and a "witch circle" is formed, showing that this area is occupied by mushrooms. Nobody has seen how black truffles grow, not even the truffle collectors who have been doing this business from generation to generation. This is due to the fact that all the life of these mushrooms takes place underground. Most often they form mycorrhiza with oaks, but they can interact with other deciduous trees.

How black truffles are harvested

truffle Black truffles have a strong scent that attracts wild pigs. The pigs dig up the fruiting bodies and help spread the spores. In addition, the larvae of red flies develop in these mushrooms, so the adults swarm above the ground, which also helps in the search for truffles. Black French truffles bear fruit from December to mid-March. The crop is harvested, as a rule, in the first months of winter. Traditionally, these mushrooms are found with the help of trained pigs. But pigs destroy forest soil, so recently it has become popular to use trained dogs for this purpose. Black truffles are easier to find, as their mycelium contributes to the extinction of vegetation around. According to these combined characteristics, the places where black truffles grow are found.

Taste qualities of black French truffles

truffle The strong aroma of these mushrooms is highly prized by gourmets. Truffle cost reaches $50 per 1 oz. Some connoisseurs say that black truffles smell like chocolate, while others smell of forest dampness with a hint of alcohol. The mushrooms are cut, or, as the professionals say, shave with a special spatula with a sharp blade, resulting in translucent pieces. Various dishes are sprinkled with black truffles: fish, meat, pizza, vegetables, soups, risotto. These mushrooms give a unique aroma to all dishes and go well with all dishes. Gourmet chefs go further and use this delicacy as an ingredient in desserts, such as truffle ice cream or treats made from egg whites, almonds and black truffles.

From the history

The finds in Mesopotamia indicate that people have been eating these mushrooms for 4 thousand years. Without black truffles, not a single Greek feast took place; Emperor Augustus adored them. On January 17, the feast of St. Anthony is celebrated, it is believed that it was this saint who found black truffles with the help of a pig and his staff. Charles V, King of France, always had black truffles on the table, which were considered a popular aphrodisiac. The wife of Louis XV gave birth to ten children, while she ate huge quantities of truffles. Napoleon, who had no children, asked one officer with many children what his secret was, and he said that he was born in Sarles, the capital of truffles, and he always ate plenty of them. Later, the emperor had an heir. In the twentieth century, the number of truffles decreased significantly, which was associated with the past two wars. Only in the 60s did the situation begin to stabilize. But even today truffle mining does not reach the scale of the 19th century.

Truffle legends

Many myths have arisen due to the fact that truffles grow underground and spontaneously appear. and legends about these mushrooms. Previously, it was believed that lightning gave birth to truffles, that they are a gift from the gods with a heady smell. According to one legend, a lumberjack from Perigord shared his potato with a hungry old woman. And the old woman turned out to be a fairy and rewarded the woodcutter with the fact that truffles grew in his garden. The woodcutter and his family got rich. When the man died, his children became rich, but they were not as noble as their father, when the old woman returned to them, they refused her alms. Then she made it so that all the truffles disappeared in their garden, and turned them into pigs themselves, so that they would be doomed to serve their owners and look for these mushrooms. Varieties of truffles Sand truffle is found in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and North Africa. But in France it is forbidden to sell them under the name of a truffle; White truffle or garlic truffle tastes like cheese with garlic and shallots. It grows in Italy; The gray truffle is harvested in Champagne and Burgundy. It is also called musk truffle; Black autumn truffle grows in Germany, England, Normandy and Czech Republic. This mushroom has a bitter taste and is not of such high gastronomic interest as the black truffle; The March White Truffle is native to Italy. It is called the "poor white truffle"; Black winter truffle is in second place in terms of taste after black truffle. It grows in southern and central Europe; The Chinese truffle is native to the southwest of China.

Growing black truffles

In the 19th century, the process of the appearance of black truffles became known. Since that time, farms for the cultivation of these delicious mushrooms began to appear. The first farm appeared in 1810. The truffle market is extremely volatile from 2 to 60 kilograms of mushrooms are harvested from one hectare per year. And in some years there may be no harvest at all. In addition, land can be unproductive for 15 years. The harvested truffles are difficult to tolerate being outdoors, therefore, they should be eaten or preserved immediately. After harvesting, the mushrooms are sorted by size and maturity. After they are well cleaned of the earth, and then sorted again. Useful properties of black truffles Black French truffles have long been considered an aphrodisiac. These mushrooms are recommended for gout. Truffle infusions help with weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, they improve the functioning of organs.

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Reader Comments (10)

How wonderful! This is the way lawns should look...natural and beautiful.

June 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer Tan

Hi Lori :) Interesting idea! I'm looking forward to reading more - thanks for the links. Love & hugs, Q

June 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterQuinne

I have come over here several times to say thank you for your kind words at my place, but have been interrupted by a child before I could finish it. So, I've gotten to enjoy your newest posts and photos each time and also read down through here. I must say I love your nature study! We too our avid fans of the outdoors. Well no interruptions, so thank you for visiting my place and I'll definitely be back here to see what you've got posted next!
Have a great week and blessings, Julie

June 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

That looks just like our lawn! Fauna found ten 4 leaf clovers yesterday and two 5 leaf. We LOVE our clover and dandelion yard.
Lisa ;)

June 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlisa

Thanks for linking to my hub on clover lawns! You have a really nice blog here - I really enjoyed reading through your posts. Good luck, and thanks for helping spread the word about natural gardening.

June 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKerry

Our previous yard had clover and fruit trees and clover. It was heavenly when there would be a warm day in February all the bees would flock to the clover and rosemary, wondering when the apples were going to bud, or at least that is what i imagined they were discussing. + a

June 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlis

Our yard in Japan was all clover... spent countless hours looking for four-leaf-clovers as a girl...
Loved that yard!

June 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

jennifer, i agree! :^)

thank you, quinne! it’s good to see you here! ;^)

thank you, julie! :^)

lisa — *five-leaf*?!?! :D jack is the king of finding four-leaf clovers; i have them tucked into every book … i hate to tell him about five-leaf clovers; i may not see him till fall! :^)

thank you, kerry! i thought your hub did a great job of summarizing all the info around the ’net! :^)

alis, :^) in the minds of bees — you are a romantic :^)

dawn, jack is our best four-leaf-clover looker and finder — i have so many of them now. (he’s diligent!) talk about simple pleasures! :^)

June 10, 2009 | Registered CommenterLori

Thank you, thank you for this post. I hate our backyard--bare spots everywhere, DH is constantly fighting with the sprinklers/re-seeding/straw/fertilizers/weed-killers--ugh! I made him read your post and these links and now he's hooked--asked me to order some clover seed ASAP--woohoo! :D

June 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSherry

sherry, fantastic! :^D i hope it works out for you guys! woohoo! :^)

June 12, 2009 | Registered CommenterLori

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