Black truffle salt is an unusual looking mushroom. A true truffle consists of a fruiting body (tricellular) of a saprobic ascomycetous fungus, primarily one of several species of the genera Tuber and Geodia. Other genera included are Geopora (the world's most abundant), Peziza (most popular in France), Choiromyces (also the most common in France), Leucangium (not very common in France), and over half a dozen others. Some species are edible, while others are toxic, making this a mushroom that should be handled with care.
The term "black truffle" is derived from the color of the flesh and the appearance of the white hairs on the surface of a true truffle, rather than from the color of the truffle's spores. The mushrooms commonly referred to as truffles have a light or golden brown color, with some appearing as pale silvery gray. A very small number also have a reddish color and are called red truffles.
The coloration of this mushroom can vary, however, and it has a dark brown color to it. These mushrooms are also very large and are generally oval, although they can range greatly in size. This is particularly true of Geodia. As is true of many saprophytes, Geodia has a strong ability to reproduce quickly. This allows Geodia to grow quickly enough to be harvested as much as two years before its next-generation takes root.
Most truffles are harvested from the gills or stems of Geodia. Although it is possible to harvest these mushrooms from the stem (sometimes called "sour"), it is often more cost-effective and convenient to harvest the mushrooms from the gill or stem as they are at a lower level in the mushroom, which means the mushroom remains intact and does not deteriorate as easily.
Geodia mushrooms can be harvested from almost any part of the mushroom, but the best locations for the harvest are the larger areas where the gill and stem are exposed to the air. When harvesting these mushrooms, special equipment is used that makes it possible to collect the mushrooms without harming them. Because these mushrooms are so delicate, the harvesting process is not done too quickly.
Truffles are usually picked when they are young and fresh, which is why they look so pungent when picked. This is why they are often known as "pungent". Because of their pungency, mushrooms are often eaten raw. But this process does not mean the mushroom has to be eaten raw, it is common to freeze the mushrooms after picking and serve them with other foods. The mushrooms can be used in a variety of dishes.
They can also be cured using black truffle salt, which has a distinctive flavor reminiscent of licorice and the aroma of baking spices, although this process is rarely used for mushrooms that are eaten raw. It works well on fresh mushrooms that have been harvested from the stems because it prevents the growth of other fungi that may cause fungal growth or decay.
Truffles can be found in a number of different flavors, depending upon the geographic area where they are harvested, but there are many varieties available. One common flavor is the one made with licorice that is made into a paste, usually with cloves and saffron. Another popular version is made with cinnamon and other herbs and spices usually served as a tea.
Truffles can be used in a wide variety of recipes, whether it is to be used on its own as a garnish or used in other dishes. Some people even use it as a flavoring ingredient in dishes such as macaroni and cheese.
Traditionally, truffle salt are used to season cheeses. When cheese is sliced, the cheese, along with the truffles, are allowed to melt to form a delicious and melt-in-your-mouth sauce. This is then spread over the top of a piece of bread to enhance the taste of the cheeses.
To learn more about these delicious mushrooms, visit some of the many websites online resources that offer more detailed information. There are also many cookbooks with recipes for black truffles and other varieties of mushrooms.