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A truffle, also known as wintergreen, is around a brown, succulent, gummy variety of sugary yeast. The name comes from the Latin "trus," meaning "truffle," and "Gaudium," meaning "smooth". A truffle is actually the sugary body of underground ascomycete fungi, primarily one of the classifications of the genus Tuber. As well as Tuber, other fungi are categorized as truffles, including Geopora, Peziza, Choiromyces, Leucangium, Andrographis, and several others.
Today, black truffle salt has been used in European cooking for about five hundred years. Some varieties of truffle have a very strong, bitter taste, often referred to as "train salt." Though it's not clear why this was chosen, one possibility is that because the fungi are a part of the soil that would otherwise be consumed by other plants, the bitter taste helps to deter the growth of other fungi.
Historically, truffle salt was used as a garnish. The rich flavor and aroma make it ideal for cooking and baking, where its use promotes the coarseness of food and enhances its flavor. Among the most well-known recipes using truffle salt are those baked in truffle shells. The name "truffle" itself derives from the French word trapere, meaning "to roast." Historically, cooks favored truffle salt for its richness in flavor and aroma, but today many chefs use a less expensive variety because it easily goes rancid when exposed to air and water. Still, some people do prefer the flavor, which remains one of its best attractions.
Traditionally, the most visible part of truffle salt is the hard shell, which may be colored black, brown, or even white. Sometimes, the inside of the shell will also display bits of fungus. It's these larger pieces that provide the flavor. In addition, depending on the accumulation of bacteria and fungi, truffle salt may also include traces of toxins and contaminants. To avoid such particles, however, it's recommended that you purchase your salts from a supplier who uses high-quality materials.
Truffle salt is typically produced from a mushroom called the annatto. This ingredient gives the salt its characteristic bitter taste. While annatto is used primarily in Italian cooking, it is also found in other cuisines. For example, in Spain, truffle salt is often called an escort, while in France, it's known as balsamic. In Italy, it's called once cruda, while in Turkey, it's known as caciocavallo.
While there are several varieties of truffle salt available, you should get your hands on a good-quality type, which is usually sold in small containers. For one thing, the salt should be able to resist mold growth, as it often comes packed in wet bags. The bag shouldn't allow moisture to penetrate through to the salt, so make sure that you find a sealable bag when purchasing. You can then store the salt in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture.
Some people prefer to make their own truffle salt. You can do this by soaking dry herbs in warm water for a few hours. Then, use the water to rinse the herbs, reserving the liquid for later. Place the herbs, leaves, and stems into a bowl, add some olive oil, and season with some salt until you have a nice pasty substance. Store it in an airtight container.
Alternatively, if you would like to enjoy the taste of truffle salt without having to go through the trouble of making your own, then you can buy it. There is a wide variety available on the market, with many brands offering free samples of their product in order to sample how customers react to their products. As you can see, making your own truffle salt is quite easy, but tastes much better than the ready-made variety.