What are truffles? How are they classified?

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Truffles are the fruit of very special members of the fungi kingdom.  This means their parent organisms have several characteristics in common with mushrooms.

Most varieties of truffle producing fungi live in symbiotic relationships with trees and are found underground around their roots.  Truffles aren’t the main body of the fungus itself, but a special growth that it produces to spread its spores (just as apple trees grow apples to distribute their seeds).  Truffles emit their intense aroma to make it easier for animals to find them and eat them.

Most desirable truffles are in the genus tuber (family Tuberaceae) within the fungi kingdom.  Within the tuber genus there are a wide variety of species with varying characteristics and levels of desirability.  Here are the truffles with the most culinary importance:

Alba White TrufflesTuber Magnatum Pico
Perigord Black Truffles
Tuber Melanosporum
Italian Summer Black Truffles
Tuber Aestivum Vitt
Burgundy Black Truffles
Tuber Uncinatum
Bianchetti White Truffles
Tuber Borchii
Oregon White Truffles
(two species) Tuber Oregonense & Tuber Gibbosum
Oregon Black Truffles
Leucangium Carthusianum

– Question Submitted by Ray S.

Related Posts:
How to Choose Which Truffles to Buy

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