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Are you sure they're potatoes?  RSS feed

 
Burra Maluca
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My other half brought these back from the market yesterday, telling me that they were some strange type of potato and that he was going to plant them in the garden.



Then he told me what they cost and I flipped out, because that was way too high even for seed potatoes.

But then I got suspicious and cut one open, and let him off. Anyone got any good truffle recipes?

 
Judith Browning
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I've never seen that many at once and never eaten any...they look wonderful! Did they use pigs to find them?
 
Burra Maluca
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I don't think so, or at least I've never seen anyone doing anything suspicious involving pigs in the forest. One of the local old guys occasionally gives us one or two, but even he won't show us how to find them. I think some things are considered to precious to share. I'm gonna have to do some research because they obviously *do* grow well around here, if only we knew exactly where.

I do occasionally see places where the wild boar have been unearthing stuff so i guess I should start by investigating boar-holes. If that's the right word...
 
Leila Rich
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OMG!
That looks like a fortune in ginormous white truffles
You mean they're large enough to be seed potatoes? What size would you say they are?
Black truffles' flavour can be a bit overwhelming; white's not so intense and I prefer them.

Great truffle-partners:
Very high-quality long pasta like pappardelle, butter, parmesan, parsley with loads of truffles shaved over.
Exactly the same, but with risotto, polenta or potatoes instead of pasta.
Actually, anything to do with potatoes as long as it's really simple to keep the truffle as 'the star'.
Eggs, especially duck.
 
Burra Maluca
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Unfortunately we're out of potatoes. I'd asked him to get me some from the market...

We do, however, have rather an embarrassment of duck eggs, so that's a possibility. And I think we have some nice pasta lurking somewhere, and a few herbs...

Here's a photo of a couple of them in my hand to give you an idea of size.



They are kinda pinky-white inside, so some sort of white truffle?
 
Michael Cox
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Nice... must have been a surprise thinking they were spuds!

I've seen sources that advertise oak saplings planted with the right fungal cultures for truffles. I've always though that would be a good thing to add to the zone 5 areas. Presumably once you have one you could use some of the transplanted soil to establish lost more?
 
Ann Torrence
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Save the peels in oil or buried in rice.
They can be frozen.
Sadly, I am one of those people who can hardly taste the truffle flavor.
 
M.K. Dorje Jr.
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Hmmmm, I don't want to spoil your party and I don't know that much about identifying truffles, but those look like they might be lacking the classic marbled interior that mature truffles of the Tuber group have. I'm really not that sure what species they are.
However, there is a great book out called "Taming the Truffle" by Ian Hall , Gordon Brown and Alessandra Zambonelli that has quite a bit about growing and identifying truffles, especially the European ones. Most truffle plantations in Europe grow truffles on oak or hazlenut trees and this book is a goldmine of info about growing these fungi. I have Oregon white truffles on my property that live on the roots of Douglas-fir trees. They are very aromatic when mature, but they spoil very fast. They are delicious when grated fresh over eggs or pasta. Maybe someone on here has more experience with the European truffles and can help ID them for you...


 
Leila Rich
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M.K. Dorje Jr., you pooped my truffle party
Actually, I feel a bit sheepish that I was saying "Burra, eat the random, unidentified fungi!"
Afterwards I was thinking that they really are odd-looking, smooth, freakily enormous truffles
I'm usually very wary about that kind of thing.
Here's a link about 'false truffles' .
Kind of hard, as some are 'delicacies' while others give you the squits...

Burra, have you opened one up? scleroderma looks charming; isn't that a skin disease?
Can you wave them at a neighbour? Considering they were for sale, I assume they're ok to eat.
 
Burra Maluca
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I think you might be right, guys. There were indeed excellent mushrooms, but unless all three of us are incapable of tasting this amazing truffle flavour that is supposed to be so exquisite, then it seems that they weren't 'real' truffles.

This is what they looked like inside.



The most likely candidate is some kind of desert truffle, maybe one which grows as a mycorrhiza on pine or cistus, which are both abundant here. That article has this photo, which might help me locate some more.



The article also states that "as terfezias reach good size, they begin to crack the surface of the ground, appearing as bumps, so you only need good eyesight to detect cracked bumps. Although growing in semi-arid regions, terfezias need plenty of rain to develop. August-September and January-February rains are particularly beneficial."

Buying mushrooms from the market is a standard way for us to learn to identify edible species. The locals prize wild foods, but are very wary of teaching anyone anything in case we steal their 'patch', so buying fresh, in season mushrooms, handling them and photographing them to learn what they are like, and then doing a load of walking in the forest over the next few days to see if we can find anything similar are are standard approaches for us. We've had a lovely time playing with these, and there's still plenty left for a fry-up or something tonight.
 
John Polk
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The locals prize wild foods, but are very wary of teaching anyone anything in case we steal their 'patch'


That's kind of like asking anybody around here where they found the huckleberries.
Most would rather give up their PIN for their ATM card!

 
Judith Browning
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John Polk wrote:
The locals prize wild foods, but are very wary of teaching anyone anything in case we steal their 'patch'


That's kind of like asking anybody around here where they found the huckleberries.
Most would rather give up their PIN for their ATM card!



...and here it is ginseng.
 
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