A truffle is an edible mushroom, a berry, or a sweetening agent produced by a fungus. It is sometimes called a "sausage" or a "butterfly," though the latter term is probably more appropriate.
A truffle is actually the fruit of an Ascomycota fungus, mostly one of the species of the family Tuberculinae. The Tuberculinae tribe includes a number of Ascomycota species, some of which are commonly found in North America and Europe. In addition to Tuberculinae, several other genera of mushrooms are also classified as truffles, including Geopora, Chanterelle, Peziza, Prunella, Leucangium, and many others. As of this writing, a total of fifteen genera and at least four families of fungi are known to produce truffles.
The black truffle belongs to the genus Ascomycota, but its close relative the white truffle, the more familiar black truffle, is not related to the Ascomycota genus. In fact, the two truffles are not related to any other fungi at all, though they may be related to a common host species such as Aspergillus. The black truffle, however, is closely related to Geocarpus, another fungal host.
Truffles are found on trees and plants. They are not found on soil, which makes them very unique from most fungi that are present in the soil. The most popular black truffle salt in use today is produced from the leaves of Geocarpus, which grows on trees and rocks in dry habitats. Geocarpus leaves and stems contain high concentrations of glycerin, a substance which has an anti-inflammatory effect. When glycerin accumulates, it crystallizes into salt, the ingredient in truffle salt, which is then used in cooking.
The Ascomycota fungi that produce truffles are found in various places, especially under the bark and leaf surfaces of deciduous trees. They are usually located around the base of young branches, the inner bark, and the upper parts of large twigs and needles of conifers, where they grow as part of the wood's decomposition process. The fungi typically feed on decayed organic materials that have accumulated on the tree's surface, including dead leaves, twigs, and branches.
The fungi grow in association with microorganisms such as yeasts and bacteria. As fungi feed on the wood's surface, they break down cellulose and create sugars from the sugars it contains. The sugars are then used by other microorganisms as food.
As the Ascomycota fungi consume the sugars, they create the lactic acid in the resulting solution, which attracts moisture to the surface. The lactic acid prevents the drying out of the wood and makes the wood pliable.
Because of their unique environment and ability to break down sugars in such a rapid way, truffles contain a high concentration of carbohydrates, which helps Ascomycota fungi grow on the surfaces of deciduous trees and sticks. As a result, when it comes to making a truffle salt, you'll need to ensure that you harvest from a dry environment. Since the fungus feeds off decaying material, dry environments may not be the best, but you can still make a fine product if you dry it slowly.
Start by washing the wood with water and then setting it out on a drying process for approximately two hours at room temperature. After it's completely dried out, place the wood on a plate covered with aluminum foil, allowing the moisture to evaporate away. Place it in a refrigerator and place it in a dark, dry location for several months.
Once the salt is fully dried, you can then use it to season food items, as long as it isn't used directly as a cooking ingredient. If you wish to eat it, however, make sure to thoroughly rinse off the truffle salt before eating any dish containing it.
Truffles are a tasty treat because of their high content of Ascomycota fungi. These fungal colonies help to decompose the sugars in the leaves of trees and therefore make it possible for the trees to produce carbohydrates for future use. The resulting sugar is then converted into lactic acid in the solution, which provides an extra element of flavor. However, it should never be ingested on its own, you would be much better off using a truffle salt as a garnish rather than eating the entire salt.
If you're looking for a great way to save money and use up some vegetables, consider making a truffle salt for your family. In addition to being easy on the wallet, it's also good for the environment. You don't need to buy expensive sugar and other ingredients to create a fine tasting salt for your family.