A truffle is a rare and delicious culinary treat that is highly sought after throughout the world. Truffles may also be some of the most expensive foods in the world, costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars per kilogram.
What is Truffle?
Truffles are an underground mushroom from the Tuber genus, many of which are extremely valuable for their potent flavor and culinary applications. Although not everyone enjoys mushrooms, truffles have a unique and delectable taste and are particularly well represented in French cuisine. Most truffle varieties form a symbiotic relationship with certain types of trees, ranging from oak and hazelnut to pecan and beech trees.
Serving Size : Nutrient Value Total lipid (fat) [g] 31.93 Carbohydrate, by difference [g] 49.61 Energy 511 Water [g] 10.07 Caffeine [mg] 17 Theobromine [mg] 170 Sugars, total including NLEA [g] 43.09 Fiber, total dietary [g] 2.8 Calcium, Ca [mg] 167 Iron, Fe [mg] 1.96 Magnesium, Mg [mg] 53 Phosphorus, P [mg] 181 Potassium, K [mg] 323 Sodium, Na [mg] 86 Zinc, Zn [mg] 1.94 Copper, Cu [mg] 0.41 Selenium, Se [µg] 4.2 Retinol [µg] 125 Vitamin A, RAE [µg] 126 Carotene, beta [µg] 15 Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg] 0.62 Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg] 0.2 Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg] 5 Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg] 0.1 Thiamin [mg] 0.1 Riboflavin [mg] 0.28 Niacin [mg] 0.33 Vitamin B-6 [mg] 0.04 Folate, total [µg] 11 Vitamin B-12 [µg] 0.65 Choline, total [mg] 41.1 Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg] 5.4 Folate, food [µg] 10 Folate, DFE [µg] 10 Cholesterol [mg] 41 Fatty acids, total saturated [g] 20.02 4:0 [g] 0.49 6:0 [g] 0.22 8:0 [g] 0.18 10:0 [g] 0.4 12:0 [g] 0.43 14:0 [g] 1.66 16:0 [g] 8.82 18:0 [g] 7.27 18:1 [g] 6.71 18:2 [g] 1.27 18:3 [g] 0.13 20:4 [g] 0.01 16:1 [g] 0.46 20:1 [g] 0.01 20:5 n-3 (EPA) [g] 0 22:5 n-3 (DPA) [g] 0 Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g] 7.82 Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g] 1.45 Sources include : USDA
Truffles command such high prices because they may not keep well for very long after they are dug up, and they are difficult to cultivate. Specially trained dogs or pigs often must be used to sniff out the truffles underground. According to a study conducted in Italy by Antonietta Mello et al., the growing season for these mushrooms is also relatively short – only 3-4 months in length – which may explain the high price tag. Some of the various types of truffles include black truffles, garlic truffles, summer truffles, and white truffles, the last being the most prized and expensive of all.
In terms of nutrition, these mushrooms may offer dietary fiber, as well as protein, phosphorus, iron, and calcium, according to a research report by Amina Hamza et al. There might be no fat and it may have a low level of carbohydrates. Vitamin D may also be found in these mushrooms. However, since such a small amount of these mushrooms are used in most dishes, they are not commonly eaten for their nutritional value or density.
There can be various health benefits associated with eating truffles, including lowering cholesterol and preventing premature aging, among others (Hamza A et al, 2016; Saad Sabbar D et al, 2018).
- May reduce oxidative stress
- Might slow down the aging process
- Can be used to protect the liver from damage
- May have anticancer potential
- Can potentially lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease
- May aid the immune system with anti-microbial properties
- Can be a healthy meat alternative for non-meat eaters
- May provide relief from trachoma and other eye infections
While the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of truffles have been researched, further studies can help to discover the extent of health benefits that these delicious, exotic mushrooms can offer. Also, while truffles might be considered in folklore as an aphrodisiac, there is no scientific evidence for the same.
How to Use?
There are many wonderful ways to use truffles, such as the following:
- Creating truffle oil as an unforgettable drizzle or topping
- Distilling a flavor-based vodka
- Making butter, honey, and various other sauces
- Pairing it with butter and cheese sauces
Due to the exorbitant price, however, it is always recommended to use truffles sparingly. The potent flavor is enough to overpower a dish when used in excess.