Care & Handling of Truffles
Truffles are all about aroma, and while they’re alive they continue to produce more of it. That aroma can be captured in any food that contains fat, from eggs, cream, butter, and meat to nuts, oils, and even avocados. Fat or oil will soak up and concentrate truffle aroma just by being in the same refrigerator with the truffle without actually coming in contact with it. The key is to keep the truffle alive, breathing, and well-hydrated so that it will continue to produce aroma as long as it can, or until it is served. While storing truffles, put butter, cheese, etc. in the container with them. As long as the aroma can reach the food, it will become infused, even wrapped in waxed paper or plastic.
By following these instructions, it is possible to keep ripe Oregon truffles intact for a week or more.
- Use a plastic or glass container large enough that most of the volume contains air
- Line the bottom with paper towels to wick condensation
- Spread the truffles in a single layer without touching each other
- Air out the container once or twice per day to provide a continuous supply of oxygen
- Blot surface moisture from the truffles daily, or as needed to keep them dry, and change paper towels as soon as they become at all damp
- To extend the lives of black truffles, find any bad spots using your nose, and trim those spots with a fine paring knife until the smell is sweet again.
- At the end of their lives, truffles will start to ‘sweat’ excess moisture, and become soft. This is your last chance to use them before they spoil.
A Note on Ripening Truffles
People ask us all the time about how to ripen truffles. There are only a couple of things you need to know about truffle ripening. Foremost is that an immature truffle will never properly ripen for culinary uses. This is why we encourage the use of dog harvested truffles, because they are almost always fully mature, and beginning to ripen, if the dogs are finding them. The other important thing to know is that a fully mature truffle will automatically go through the remaining stages of it’s ripening process once harvested. The question is for how long? This is where care and handling come in. The better care you give your harvested truffle, the longer the lifespan and ripening process will extend. In the end, this helps determine how long you will have to capture those amazing volatile gasses and aromas in all sorts of foods and infusions.