Black truffle: what is it and what are its health benefits

The black truffle is a kitchen ingredient with extensive benefits for your health. It should not only be known for the halo that accompanies it, but for how it can help you improve your body.

Last update: September 18, 2022

The black truffle is a highly appreciated fungus in the gastronomic world. It is a food that exudes flavor and aroma. Its characteristics make it an exquisite and highly valued ingredient. In fact, he is known as the black diamond.

You can get it in countries like Italy, France, in Asia and in some places in Africa. Spain is the first producer worldwide.

Its value is not only in its characteristics, which make it unique, but it also has great health benefits. We will explain what the black truffle is, why it is so valuable and how you can take advantage of it.

What is the black truffle?

The black truffle or tuber melanosporum is an underground fungus known to be scarce, what makes it exclusive and unique. Also called Perigord truffle in France, trüffel in german or black truffle in English.

Since ancient times it has been enveloped in a halo. Towards the fourth century a. C., the Greek philosopher Theophrastus described truffles as “a mysterious subterranean fruit that appeared after storms”. From there, she became involved in mysticism and the charm of having been an ingredient in witchcraft.

The explanation of its origin was also associated with mystery. For years, they were believed to be tree roots and protrusions from biting flies.

In fact, truffles are fructifications of underground fungi. The fungi that produce mushrooms and truffles are made up of filamentous structures called hyphae. These are intertwined, forming a skein of filaments called mycelium. From there come, seasonally, the fructifications.

The difference between mushrooms and this type of fungus is that, even being born below the ground, rise to the surface when mature to disperse spores. In other words, when they come out they are already ripe.

Black truffles are fructifications. When they emerge from the ground they are ripe.

Characteristic

As for its structure, it has a spherical or globose body when the ground is loose or irregular. At first, they have a reddish color, but when ripe they turn black and acquire a pungent odor.

They have an outer layer of protection called peridium, which when brushing and washing shows some species of warts. When cutting it, the internal zone is observed, called glebawhich is fleshy and black.

The gleba it contains abundant white veins that are distributed throughout the meat. It is here that the spores are produced for their multiplication and development.

From a gastronomic perspective, it is known as the underground empress or the kitchen diamond They give a characteristic smell and flavor to each dish.



Distribution

Its distribution in the world is not well studied. Only 30% of the earth’s surface has been surveyed for truffle harvesting. However, so far it has been determined that their underground way of life is an adaptive strategy to the economy of water.

It is characteristic of semi-arid environments, where most of these fungi have been found. Therefore, there is a great shortage of truffles in the tropics.

As it grows?

The fungus grows in a strategic way, adapting to the environment in the following way: the truffle needs water, so makes a symbiotic relationship with trees and mountain plants. This means that the benefit is mutual.

The hypogeal fungus, that is, the truffle, facilitates the plant’s absorption of water, nitrogen, phosphorus and other essential elements, as well as protects it from diseases. In return, the plant provides everything the fungus needs for its development and fruition.

Nutritional value of black truffle

The truffle, apart from being a mystical ingredient, has a nutritional value. According to the analysis of Dr. Pedro Marco Montori, it contains the following nutrients in 100 grams of product:

  • Calories: fifty.
  • Water: 74.7 grams.
  • Carbohydrates: 5.7 grams.
  • Fiber: 10.3 grams.
  • Fats: 0.5 grams.
  • Proteins: 7.4 grams.
  • Potassium: 74.1 milligrams.
  • Calcium: 7.91 milligrams.
  • Iron: 0.19 milligrams.
  • Sodium: 77 milligrams.
  • Magnesium: 28 milligrams.
  • Silicon: 0.37 milligrams.
  • Water: 75 grams.

The black truffle is a food recommended for its low caloric intake, which comes mainly from the few carbohydrates and proteins. This last value is considered higher than that of other edible fungi, such as mushrooms.

Of the carbohydrate content, 60 to 70% are slowly absorbed. That is, the type of soluble fiber.

The black truffle is rich in potassium, magnesium and sodium. Other trace elements present are iron, calcium and silicon. It contains 4 times more nitrogenous matter and minerals than the wild mushroom. It also has vitamin C and B vitamins.

In addition to these nutrients, there are more than 50 different aroma and flavor compounds. Many of them are believed to be produced during the fermentation of sugars, alcohol, and other oxidized compounds.

Most aroma compounds are sulfur. such as dimethyl sulfide; others are aldehydes and ketones, such as methyl 2-butanal and butanone. Phenols are also recorded in truffles.



How to collect the black truffle?

The black truffle is harvested using trained dogs. In France or Spain they can also use domesticated pigs and wild boars, although they are not very frequent due to their gluttony.

Once the dog finds the truffle, the collector (trufero), using a special knife with a triangular blade, he digs to extract it. Then you should cover the hole with the remains of the earth and, if possible, bury some herbs that are nearby.

Health benefits

The black truffle does not contain a wide variety of nutrients, but its compounds are recognized for their health benefits.

antioxidant power

Truffle phenols have a high antioxidant activity, representing a defense against aging. These phenols help fight free radicals that oxidize cell membranes and are responsible for some diseases, such as cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.

Promotes skin health

The truffle is considered the natural botoxDue to the presence of phenolic compounds that show a high antioxidant capacity. In addition, it activates the production of collagen, maintaining the elasticity of the skin, its texture and firmness. It also promotes hair growth.

On the other hand, the black truffle is used in cosmetics due to its high value in B complex vitamins and its depigmenting action. Brightens skin and fades blemishes. Provides a mixture of amino acids that allow wrinkles to be smoothed and cause a lifting.

Ideal for low-calorie diets

The caloric content of these mushrooms is low. A 100-gram portion provides just 50 calories and more than 70 grams of water. In addition, it has the advantage that a good part of its carbohydrates are not digested.

Indicated to avoid dyslipidemia

The low fat and cholesterol content of truffles make them favorite ingredients to control cholesterol and triglyceride disorders elevated. They do not provide fat and the high value of soluble fiber allows the reduction of lipids in the blood, as reported by a group of Mexican scientists.

Regulates the absorption of nutrients

The black truffle is a source of soluble fiber and allows a slower digestion process. Therefore, it regulates the absorption of nutrients and produces satiety.

Accompanying some carbohydrate-rich dishes with black truffle could control blood sugar. Therefore, it is also considered a suitable ingredient for meal plans with carbohydrate selection.

Black truffle cosmetics are used to reduce skin wrinkles.

Quality aspects of the black truffle

Before consuming black truffles, the first thing we must recognize is their quality. Pay attention that they do not have bumps, cuts or are broken. The quality ones should not be soft, while their surface should be smooth and rough.

Inside they should be dark brown to black in color with irregular fine lines.. Another indicator of quality is the aroma, which must be powerful and reminiscent of fresh, wet earth.

The truffle is consumed in small quantities. That is why it is normal to find it finely grated or in sheets on top of the preparation. Gives flavor and aroma to pasta, pizza, eggs and cheese.

A piece of advice is that, when you are going to add it to the dish, done at the last minute to take advantage of all the aromas and flavors. Its components are very volatile. It hardly requires cooking.

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