Truffles are a symbiotic fungus that grows entirely underground on the roots of trees. There are numerous varieties of fungus, but white and black truffles are the major species. Truffles are known for their earthy flavor and their relatively high market value. The fungus can be grown and harvested in any part of the world, but the best varieties come from Europe.
Truffles are rich in various nutrients, including vitamin C, protein, and manganese, which aid in the proper functioning of the body. In some Asian countries, fungus has been used for eye and skin treatment.
Gallic acid and lycopene are some of the numerous antioxidants in the fungus that help prevent various chronic illnesses. Truffles have different mineral nutrients that assist in maintaining normal blood sugar levels and lowering cholesterol.
Several studies have shown that truffles have strong anticancer properties that help in killing cancer cells. Moreover, the nutritional value of the fungus is known to help shield the liver from damage.
Exposure to high inflammatory levels may predispose one to various chronic illnesses, and truffles help relieve inflammation, helping prevent chronic diseases. Truffles are known for their antibacterial properties, which are very crucial.
Studies have shown that truffles aid the digestive process and eventually prevent an individual from constipating. Moreover, there are very few cases of truffle allergies because the fungus is gluten-free.
Truffles have a relatively low water consumption rate compared to other forms of food and animal production. Starchy roots and tubers require about 387 liters of hydration water to produce a kilogram of produce, while 1 pound of starchy roots and tubers requires 46 gallons of water.
Although truffle hyphae are excellent at absorbing nutrients and water, they cannot create sugar via photosynthesis. Trees may produce their food because of the many photosynthetic leaves, and they are not necessarily the best at absorbing water and nutrients.
Truffle hyphae attach themselves to the roots of trees and form a symbiotic interaction referred to as mycorrhizae. This serves to safeguard the survival of both the truffles and the trees. The tree gives sugar in exchange for the truffle’s assistance absorbing additional water and nutrients.
Other than water footprint, plants also exhibit a carbon footprint which refers to the carbon dioxide equivalent, abbreviated as CO2e. Because carbon measurements are harder to calculate, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance traveled by an automobile. This comparison can be made either using metric or imperial units.
Truffles have a far lower carbon footprint than many other types of food. One kilogram of starchy roots requires around 0.4 kg CO2e, equivalent to the emissions produced by a car that has traveled about 1.5 kilometers.
The fungus is an important source of nutrients for various animals in the wild. Spores of the truffle fungus are transported to different locations via animal waste or carcasses, where they can begin to grow again.
The high nutritional value of truffles and the scarce nature of their availability make them a very valuable ingredient. Farmers who engage in truffle farming are compensated very handsomely per unit of truffle compared to other agricultural products.
Truffle farming employs little to no use of agricultural machinery. Farmers enhance the environment in which truffles attach themselves to tree roots and wait for them to mature. Harvesting entails using dogs or pigs to locate the mature fungus, which leaves a significantly small carbon footprint.
Truffles are very sensitive to elevated temperatures and freezing temperatures making their preservation challenging since they begin to rot after ten days. Truffles should be cleaned immediately after they are supplied, ensuring the bad parts are trimmed off and then dried with a towel.
After cleaning, the truffles should be covered with a dry paper towel and placed in the refrigerator until they are ready to be used. Poisonous mushrooms are often confused for truffles; hence one should only consume truffles from a reliable supplier.
Truffles are a very small fungus with immense nutritional value that aids in preventing numerous illnesses. Moreover, the ecological impact the fungus has is beneficial to various animals, trees, and human beings economically.