What are truffles? Learn more about truffle species and farming
In the simplest of terms, truffles are fruiting bodies of fungi that grow in association with tree roots: a relationship called a symbiosis. Most truffle species are included in the phylum Ascomycete of the Fungi family, and are (generally) members of the Tuber genus. While the truffle organism depends on the tree to thrive, the tree benefits to a lesser degree from the truffle. Truffles appear under the soil at varying depths; but generally no more than 6-8″ in depth. Harvest time is dependent on the species, but altitude and latitude are also factors to a lesser degree.
Several of the truffle species are highly prized for their culinary attributes. These aromas and flavors can be very complex; and depend on the species, freshness, and time of season. The taste and aroma of truffles have been described as fruity, nutty, garlic-like, and even slightly citrus. These complex flavor and taste profiles are what lends the truffle it’s legendary culinary status worldwide.
Likewise, truffles have also shown to provide significant health benefits. They are an excellent source of micronutrients such as copper, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and calcium-to name only a few. In addition, they provide protein, are low in fat, and cholesterol free. Along with anti-oxidant properties, many claim they are an aphrodisiac as well. These factors combine to form a very healthy, enjoyable product that can imbue any dish with great taste and nutrition alike.
Sliced Burgundy truffle (Tuber aestivum var. uncinatum)
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