Truffle salt is a fun, new, and beautiful way to decorate your home for Halloween or any other time! A truffle, as the name suggests, is the fruit-like fruiting body of underground ascomycete fungi, mainly one of the family, Tuberomycetaceae, of which T. ovata and T. atratus are the most common.
In addition to T. atratus, a few other genera of fungi also belong to this category including Geoporus, Peziza, Chlorophytum, and others. Each has unique features that contribute to its usefulness in Halloween decorations. These fungi grow in damp, dark environments such as caves and mines.
The truffle (sometimes also called a "wolf's hide") is actually a mold that is covered with a protective, waxy cap. It is a member of the "Crustacea," a group of fungus-like molds that are commonly found all over the world, but especially in warm regions, where temperatures can be warm enough to promote growth in these fungi. The exact sources of truffles are unknown, but it has been established that they can be found in both salty and fresh soils, and it has been noted that they tend to grow in humid and dark areas.
The characteristic scent associated with this particular fungus is thought to have been derived from a species called Ascomystomycosis pallidus. Other members of this group include Geosiphon and Geophilus, both of which are commonly found on trees in warm, tropical regions. Ascomystomycosis pallidus is known to have a distinct and unpleasant odor. It is closely related to Geosiphon, however, so it is not surprising that it also has a characteristic fruity odor.
There are many ways to prepare truffles. Some are more popular than others, depending upon your personal preference and the specific season in which you plan to use them. Most of them can be found in stores specializing in Halloween products, although some can be purchased in specialty shops online and in specialty gourmet food and specialty food stores.
Traditionally, truffles were ground, mixed with water, and spread on the surface of baked or roasted potatoes, or bread. While not particularly good when freshly baked, the black truffle sea salt can be used with some recipes that need to be moistened to allow for faster cooking. For example, if you want to make a pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheesecake, the best preparations are made just prior to making a meal. Since it is very important not to leave out the mushrooms when preparing the dough, it is always wise to dry the mushrooms before making the dough.
To add the truffle salt, combine the salt with the mushrooms in a glass jar and shake well to make sure the mixture is thoroughly combined. If the mixture doesn't mix properly or if the mushrooms are still slippery, just pour it into another container to be re-measured. If, however, there is still some water left in the mixture, add another tablespoon or two.
After mixing, it should be stored in a cool, dry location away from light so that it will keep its flavor longer. It can be used at least six hours before serving.
To prepare truffles, the most common method is to rub the mushroom salt into the meat before roasting it. You can rub it lightly all over the meat, but it is best to use one or two spoons and rub it down thoroughly. When you have finished cooking the meat, just scrape out as much of the salt as possible and store it in another container.
Another way to prepare truffles is to use them with soups. You can purchase truffles from specialty stores or even make them yourself using an electronic meat grinder.
For those who enjoy preparing their own meals, the truffle salt can be mixed in with the water before cooking to create a delicious, homemade dipping sauce. The sauce is a great accompaniment for fresh fruits and vegetables. When preparing the filling, add a teaspoon of this salt to the water before adding the fruit, stirring well until it is dissolved. It is best to add the salt while the filling is still warm since it will retain its original flavor when the water has cooled. Just add the truffle salt to the filling and serve with crackers or other bread.
When using the truffle salt, you may want to use a strainer to separate the meat from the salt. This can help preserve the good taste of the meat, but you may also want to place the truffles on a rack to prevent drying out the meat. You can then dip the meat into the water before serving.