Pacific Northwest Truffles - Oregon White Truffle and Oregon Black Truffle
The truffle is more than a humble mushroom - it is the high ruler of French cuisine. The black Perigord truffle of France can command prices of up to $500 per pound, depending on the season.
Everyone knows that truffles are hunted in France with either dogs or pigs, at the base of hazelnut trees. But did you know that there are also many species of truffle indigenous to the Pacific Northwest? Two in particular, the Oregon White Truffle and Oregon Black Truffle, are highly prized among chefs in the know.
Truffles grow west of the Cascades, from British Columbia to Oregon. They prefer high conifer forests, such as those which support Douglas fir trees.
How to Hunt and Find Pacific Northwest Truffles
Truffles are a form of fungi like mushrooms, except that where mushrooms fruit above ground, truffles fruit below ground. You will need to dig a bit in order to find truffles. They like to live below the layer of needles that carpet the ground below a conifer tree, just under the soil.
Although truffles in France can be found several feet below the surface, truffles in the Pacific Northwest are usually found only a few inches deep. Much easier!
Mice and other rodents love truffles, so look for signs that some small creature has been digging. The truffle will fruit several times, and it may have produced more fruit after the creature dug out the last one.
Use a rake, and gently pull back the soil, looking for something that looks like a dirt clod, or a lumpy potato. Truffles can be as small as a bottle cap, or as large as a softball. An average truffle is about the size of a golf ball. Truffles are found beneath every conifer except for the Western red cedar.
As with the classic French truffles, truffles of the Pacific Northwest are seasonal, and grow in conjunction with a “preferred” species of tree. Oregon Black Truffles can be found in the month of November, after heavy rains.
Oregon White Truffles can be found in springtime (May through June). What we know as the Oregon white truffle is actually two separate species (Tuber oregonense and Tuber gibbosum) .
- North American Truffling Society
The web page of the North American Truffling Society
- Truffles, Oregon Truffles, Black Truffle, White Truffle
Truffles, Oregon Truffles, Black Truffle, White Truffles
- Oregon Truffle Festival
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