The truffle

The black truffle is sometimes called the black diamond, which is not strange because of how higly its taste is valued by gourmets and how much it costs in stores. The truffle is a hypogeous mushroom, which means its fruiting body, comes to existence and ripens underground.  Because the truffle grows underground it belongs to the landowner and is not included in the right of public access. It is harvest by the help of scent sensitive dogs or by truffle pigs. Only dogs are used on Gotland.

There are many truffle spieces, among them the truffle Tuber melanosporum whose Swedish name is Périgordtryffel and its close relative Tuber Uncinatum (syn Tuber Aestivum) also knows as Bourgognetryffel. The latter found in Sweden for the first time in 1977 and thereafter the truffle has been found on Gotland in various places.  Go to the link ”forskning” where more is said about the amazing journey the truffle industry in Sweden has undertaken. From no knowledge in 1976 to the year 2012 when about 700 kilos of wild truffle was gathered.

The truffle is grown in symbiosis with a tree. When it is ready to harvest it leaves a distinct smell that dogs or pigs with their senstive snouts can pick up. A skilled truffle pig can identify a ripe truffle that grows severeal metres under the surface of land. Since the pigs like to eat truffle there may be a competition for the treats.

The lasting quality of the truffle is longer if it is kept cold from the harvets till the consumtion. The truffle is to be washed in cold water with a brush suitable for root vegetables. The shell is hard and tolerates brushing. The surface without shell is more sensitive. When the truffle is cleaned from dirt it is best kept in a glass jar in the refrigerator (plastic containers are ok too). A good way of getting rid of the moist that truffle leaves is putting some spelt rice or another kind of rice in the jar. The rice will obtain the taste of the truffle and can be used as a condiment in the cooking. If the truffle is kept in a plastic bag much of the smell will disappear in the refrigerator. Truffle that is not to be used within the next weeks is best stored in the freezer. Frozen truffle in a glass jar preserves the smell for a long while. Frozen truffle can be amazing even after 4-5 years. When using frozen truffle in cooking, take out the truffle from the freezer for a couple of minutes, then grate it on a regular grater. Put the unused truffle back in its glass jar and into the freezer immediately. The only thing that changes with the frozen truffle is its consistency that becomes more soft and the beautiful mixed shades disappears.