Essay

5 Types of Truffle Mushrooms

The spore-bearing fruiting bodies of underground ascomycete fungi belonging to many genera within the Pezizales order are known as truffles. Depending on your definition of mushrooms, truffles may or may not qualify as such.

Currently, the term “mushroom” refers to the macroscopic fruiting bodies of fungus in the Basidiomycota phylum or the Basidiomycota and Ascomycota phyla. It is a non-scientific term. Some mycologists and mycophiles restrict this term to fruiting bodies that are above ground. In that instance, more restrictive definitions of a mushroom would not include truffles, which belong to the Ascomycota phylum and fruit underground.

For the purposes of this article, however, any macroscopic, spore-bearing, above-ground (epigeous) and below-ground (hypogeous) fruiting bodies that belong to the fungal kingdoms Ascomycota and Basidiomycota are considered mushrooms.

We will go over five different kinds of truffle mushrooms in this tutorial, along with their morphologies, growth locations, ecological functions, and applications for humans. Take note that there are dozens of genera and hundreds of species of truffles. We’ll concentrate especially on a select few highly sought-after culinary species.

Continue reading to find out more!

1. Types of Truffle Mushrooms: Oregon Winter White Truffle (Tuber oregonense)

There are hundreds of native truffle species in the Pacific Northwest. Four of those are consumed by humans as gourmet foods. The Oregon winter white truffle (Tuber oregonense) is one of these species. This truffle can be found in northern California and southern British Columbia, on the western side of the Cascade Mountains.

Pseudotsuga menziesii, or Douglar-fir trees, are mycorrhizal with this species. Consequently, the mycelium’s filamentous network exchanges nutrients with the roots of its host tree in a way that is mutually advantageous. The fungus gives the plant roots the capacity to absorb more water and important minerals including magnesium, nitrates, and phosphorus. In exchange, the plant roots supply the mycelium with carbohydrates.

As the name implies, Tuber cinerea is usually fruitful from October to March. The truffle’s (peridium) exterior has an asymmetrical circular to potato-shaped form. The peridium is whitish-yellow with cinnamon-hued tones when it is young. The peridium has a reddish-brown colouring when it reaches maturity. The truffle’s (gleba) inner, spore-bearing mass is cream coloured when it is young. The gleba turns a cinnamon-brown colour with white marbling as the truffle ages. The Oregon winter white truffle has an aroma that foragers compare to a combination of musky cheese, earthy spices, and garlic.

The Oregon white truffle is a favourite ingredient in creamy risottos, fondue, seafood dishes, and gourmet pizzas. It can also be shaved fresh over the latter. Pinot Noir is a frequently used wine match. Fresh Oregon white truffles can cost anywhere from $20 to $50 per ounce, depending on their size and quality.

2. Oregon Black Truffle (Leucangium carthusianum)

Compared to its Oregon white truffle relatives, the distribution of the Oregon black truffle (Leucangium carthusianum) is more constrained. This species is mostly found in Douglas fir woods in the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range. They usually fruit on moss-covered, loamy soils close to streambeds from September to February.Leucangium carthusianum prefers to fruit in young woods and forms a mycorrhizal relationship with Douglas-fir trees.

The mature Oregon black truffle’s peridium has a rough, warty texture and is coal-black in colour. The gleba has white veining and is solid and grey. Its diameter can vary from 1 to 5 inches, and it is typically shaped like a potato or an uneven spherical potato. Laucumangium carthusianum has a very fruity scent when fresh, like to that of a pineapple. With age, this scent may become more intense or take on a subtle, chocolate-like, flowery, or cheese-like scent.

Black truffles have a distinct umami and fruity scent combination that may greatly enhance even the most basic foods. Popular applications for this gourmet species include blending them into butter or truffle cream, sprinkling some fresh shavings over fresh pasta or scrambled eggs, and chopping them up to incorporate into a new spice for soups and stews.

Right now, fresh truffles with this extreme demand cost between $50 and $85 per ounce.

3. Types of Truffle Mushrooms: (Tuber lyonii) Pecan Truffle

The pecan truffle (Tuber lyonii) is one of the most sought-after native truffle species found east of the Rocky Mountains. This plant forms mycorrhizas with species of cultivated pecan (Carya illinoinensis), oak (Quercus spp.), hazelnut (Corylus spp.), and hickory (Carya spp.). Pecan truffles are found in a large portion of Mexico, extending from the northwest and western regions of New Mexico, east to Florida, and as far north as Québec. Truffles are frequently found in pecan orchards by foragers, perhaps because Tuber lyonii prefers the higher pH (7–7.5) of the soil required for pecan cultivation. Growing truffles are most common in Florida and Georgia.

Pecan truffles usually have a diameter of one to three inches. The peridium is spherical to asymmetrical and pale to golden brown in colour. It has a smooth to ridged texture. When fully grown, the gleba has marbled dark white veins and is solid and light to chestnut brown in colour. There is a noticeable nutty and earthy scent.

These earthy truffles make a great topping for risotto or fresh pasta recipes. Furthermore, certain Louisianan chefs really enjoy using pecan truffles in their seafood-heavy Creole dishes. The price per ounce of fresh pecan truffles varies depending on the area.

4. Appalachian Truffle (Tuber canalicaulatum)

The Appalachian truffle, Tuber canalicaulatum, is a mycorrhizal plant that grows in the Appalachian and Midwest regions. It is associated with a variety of hardwood and conifer tree species, such as oak, chestnut (Castanea spp.), birch (Betula spp.), hickory, pine (Pinus spp.), and spruce (Picea spp.). August through November are the main fruiting months for this species.

The peridium is a beautiful brick red, oval, variably lobed, and covered with tiny warts as it reaches maturity. The gleba has dark brown veins that are marbled. Mature specimens often range in size from 1 to 4.5 inches across. The Appalachian truffle has a rich, umami scent that is distinctly reminiscent of seaweed, along with subtle sweetness and musky undertones.

Only a few foragers in North America have appeared to have figured out the environmental and geographic factors necessary to locate a patch of this highly rare truffle species. Fresh specimens go for at least $100 per ounce right now.

This Appalachian treasure infuses cream cheese with rosemary and adds a burst of layered flavour to omelettes, creamy pasta, and homemade biscuits and gravy.

5. Types of Truffle Mushrooms: Truffle, Smooth Black (Tuber macrosporum)

The smooth black truffle, or Tuber macrosporum, is one of the lesser-known gourmet species found in Europe. This species is mostly found in Italy, where clay and limestone soils are its preferred growing environments. With poplar (Populus spp. ), willow (Salix spp. ), hazelnut, oak, and linden (Tilia spp.) trees, they develop mycorrhizal relationships.

The peridium is 1-2 inches in diameter, irregularly spherical and lobed, and dark reddish-brown to nearly black in colour when it reaches maturity. It usually has a smooth appearance with a few little warts and shallow furrows occasionally visible. The gleba has many large, white veins and is solid, purple-brown to black in colour. When fully grown, they release a pungent, garlicky scent. Usually, it bears fruit from October to January.

Smooth black truffles are delicious shaved over creamy pasta and dry-aged steaks. They can also be infused into cream or butter, or prepared into a truffle sauce to spread over grilled meat or root vegetables and crostini. A common wine to combine with this delicate truffle is Rosso di Montalcino.

Although the smooth black truffle is a fine gourmet variety, it is not nearly as highly priced or as widely available as other European varieties. At the moment, an ounce of fresh Tuber macrosporum costs between $60 and $80.