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Caring for Truffles – How to Look After Your Fresh Truffles

The taste and aroma of fresh truffles does naturally reduce over time, but here are a few tips to maximise the life of this unique ingredient.

BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE – remove fresh Truffles from the vacuum sealed packaging. They need to breathe, and the poor things will suffocate if kept in this sealed packaging for more than two days.

Fresh Is Best

The sooner the better… The fresher your truffle; the better aroma and taste you will get from it. Fresh truffles should be firm, not spongey. Over time, they will gradually soften a little and there is nothing wrong with them at this point. But the carbohydrate within the truffle is breaking down, releasing moisture, and therefore, the precious aroma. If they become squidgy and wet – they have perished.

Make sure any truffle you buy is firm, and without soft spots – or at least it should be a true reflection of the Class and Grade of the truffle you purchase (e.g., older stock or 2nd class truffles may be priced lower). After a time, the veining / marbling within the interior of the truffle will become less distinctive. As they become softer, the interior will become the same colour throughout. Again, they can still be used at this point, but the truffle aroma will be less.

Fresh Black truffles should keep for up to 14-21 days if stored and looked after correctly. Fresh White truffles will not keep as long, as their “skin” is less thick, and they have a higher moisture content. White truffles should still last 7-10 days, if cared for properly.

Keep Them Dry

Moisture is the enemy… Fresh truffles are around 60-70% water and will gradually release this over time (they will “sweat”). Fresh Truffles must be kept dry. Store them in an air-tight container lined at the bottom with some paper towel to soak up additional moisture, and to avoid them drying out too quickly in the fridge. Ideally keep them off the paper towel with a rack.

The absorbent paper lining in the container should be changed daily, and the fresh truffles should be allowed to breathe and air-dry. All surface moisture should be allowed to evaporate before they go back in the fridge. If the moisture from the fresh truffle is touching the truffle on damp paper, the fresh truffle will degrade more quickly and will develop mould sooner. Some recommend storing them with rice. But doing so will actually pull / draw out the moisture (and aroma) of the fresh truffle too quickly, so we suggest avoiding this.

Keep Them Cool

Keep cool… as well as keeping the fresh truffle dry, they must be kept cool. We recommend keeping them at around 4-8 degrees Celsius, like any fresh food. The bottom of your fridge should be a good place. Avoid keeping them anywhere cooler than this. By keeping them dry, you will also avoid frost damage.

Many do not advocate freezing fresh truffles, but this is a good way to preserve them, and a far better alternative to discarding them. If you are to freeze your fresh truffle, it will lose some of the immediate aroma. Freeze when as fresh as possible, and do not defrost or re-freeze them. Shave or grate the truffle from frozen and pop it back into the freezer asap to use another time.

Let Them Breathe

Like bananas, fresh truffles give off a natural gas. This is not harmful, but will speed up ripening / deterioration, and if the gas is not allowed to escape, or be replaced with fresh air, it will change the taste and aroma of the fresh truffle to something more chemical or plastic. Whilst they need to be kept dry and cool, fresh truffles must also be allowed to breathe, to allow this gas to dissipate – for at least 30 mins, every two days minimum. Just take them out of the fridge, remove the fresh truffles onto a side to allow them to air-dry, dry out the container, change any absorbent paper – and then return them to the fridge.

Truffles Are Fungus

White Mould / Fur… Doesn’t sound appealing, but after a while, a layer of white fur will develop on the outside of the fresh truffle, and into any moist areas. As a fungi, truffles are prone to mould, but this is NOT harmful to humans. This is a natural part of the truffle ripening process.

Truffles with worm holes or cracks in the “skin” will suffer from this more quickly. Mould will penetrate and degrade the interior gleba quicker. If you see any white powder or furr on the outside, you can simply remove it by dry-brushing it gently. A soft, clean washing-up brush or even a dedicated clean toothbrush will do the job fine. The longer the mould is left on the truffle, the further into the it will penetrate, and your truffle will degrade more quickly.

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