Do truffles taste good? That can be a matter of personal opinion, but many people find truffles to be absolutely delicious! Truffles have been highly prized as a food culinary delicacy since the Classical era. With their pungent scent and flavor, the addition of truffles to any dish instantly makes it extra memorable.
Truffle salt is an easy way to add that incredible truffle flavor to any dish while seasoning it at the same time. What is truffle salt made out of? It’s typically salt and pieces of truffle, a type of fungus. This variety of fungus may be pretty rare in North America, but there is a booming truffle industry in France, which exports about a third of their truffles so the rest of the world can enjoy them.
I’m about to tell you all about the pluses and minuses of this tasty salt plus how to choose the best truffle salt along with some mouth-watering ways to start using it today!
What Is Truffle Salt?
What is truffle salt? Truffle salt is a seasoning salt. What is truffle salt made of? It contains salt along with small pieces of black and/or white truffles. If a “truffle salt” doesn’t contain bits of real truffles, then it’s not the real deal.
What is a truffle, and why are they so expensive? A truffle is an edible subterranean fungus. Truffles are in the genus Tuber, order Pezizales, phylum Ascomycota, and kingdom Fungi. Truffles can range in size from that of a pea to that of an orange.
Truffles are an expensive ingredient because they are not easy to farm. They require very specific growing conditions; they actually live inside tree roots (especially oak trees) so you can’t just plant a field of truffle seeds and wait for them to grow as you do with so many other crops. (1)
The most-valued truffle species are the winter white truffle (T. magnitude) and winter black truffle (T. melanosporum). There are several other edible truffles, such as the muscat black truffle (T. brumale), musky black truffle (T. brumale, variety moschatum), Chinese black truffle (T. indicum), Himalayan black truffle (T. himalayense), summer black truffle (T. aestivum), scorzone black truffle (T. aestivum, variety uncinatum) and autumn black truffle (T. mesentericum). (2)
What does truffle salt taste like? It’s earthy and pungent and is often described as having a musky garlic-like flavor. White truffle sea salt typically has a milder aroma and more subtle flavor than the black truffle sea salt. Sabatino truffle salt comes from Italy and is usually made with summer black truffles.
Benefits and Risks
Benefits of Truffle Salt
As with salt in general, not all truffle salts are created equal. You have to choose the right truffle salt if you want to reap any of its potential benefits.
First and foremost, you want to make sure that the salt base being used is high-quality, which means that it is definitely not conventional table salt. Second, you need to choose a truffle salt containing pieces of real whole truffles, not just truffle flavoring.
Is truffle good for you? Truffles definitely can provide impressive health benefits. Similar to other varieties of fungi, like mushrooms, truffles contain antioxidants and flavonoids that can help to fend off disease and boost overall health. Research has shown that truffles contain therapeutic compounds with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic properties. (3)
We’re talking about some huge potential benefits right there. We know that inflammation is at the root of most diseases so the fact that truffles are anti-inflammatory is very significant. (4) Both truffles and mushrooms have also been found to have cholesterol-lowering, blood sugar-lowering and hepatoprotective (prevents liver damage) abilities. (5)
- High trace mineral content
- Assists in avoiding dehydration and balancing bodily fluids
- Great source of vital electrolytes
- Maintaining proper brain, muscle and nervous system function
Risks of Truffle Salt
Is truffle salt bad for you? As with any salt product, you should use it in moderation to keep it in the “healthy” realm. If you’re following a low-sodium diet, you may have to stay away from truffle salt or use it in very small amounts depending on your doctor’s recommendations.
You should refrain from the the overuse of any salt to avoid potential health problems. Consuming too much sodium (especially with not enough potassium to balance things out) can lead to high blood pressure for some individuals. It can also lead to a concerning buildup of fluid in people with congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver or kidney disease.
If your diet is too high in sodium, then more water is excreted by the kidneys, and this can lead to an electrolyte imbalance. Other unwanted symptoms of having too much sodium in your diet include frequent trips to the bathroom, persistent thirst, water retention and bloating, lethargy, and frequent, mild headaches due to dehydration.
A quarter teaspoon of black truffle salt (made with pure, unrefined sea salt and dehydrated black truffles) contains about 190 milligrams sodium. (10)
Truffles are known to contain key essential nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates and unsaturated fatty acids, but it’s hard to see that in a typical small serving size of truffle salt.
Truffle Salt vs. Truffle Oil
Real truffle oil is created by adding edible truffles to an oil base (usually olive oil) and allowing the flavors to infuse over several days. While truffle salt can provide the benefits of truffles and sea salt, truffle oil offers the health benefits of truffles and whatever oil is used to create it.
When truffle oil is made using olive oil, you can reap all of the benefits of olive oil when consuming truffle oil. Obviously, truffle salt does not include any olive oil benefits.
Truffle Salt vs. Himalayan Salt vs. Sea Salt vs. Regular Salt
High-quality truffle salt often uses an unrefined sea salt, which is great because then it provides sea salt benefits. Same scenario if you buy Himalayan truffle salt — then you are reaping truffle benefits along with Himalayan salt benefits.
You always want to choose a mineral-rich Himalayan salt or other beneficial unrefined sea salt over regular table salt. Same goes with truffle salt — make sure the salt base is an unrefined salt.
All salts originate from sea salt, but your typical table salt is heated to extremely high temperatures, is ultra-refined and stripped of all its beneficial properties, leaving you with just sodium mainly. Plus, generic table salt often contains unwanted additives, such as anti-caking agents and aluminum derivatives, including sodium silico-aluminate.
You also don’t want a sea salt or truffle salt that lists “sodium chloride” as its main ingredient because this means it’s just as refined as table salt.
Uses in Traditional Medicine
For thousands of years, truffles have been considered as both a food and a medicine. Fungi like mushrooms and truffles are valued and used in Ayurvedic medicine for their ability to be grounding and calming to the nervous system. (11) Fungi are typically recommended for all three Ayurvedic doshas (vata, pitta and kapha).
In general, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a proponent of the fungi plant kingdom, which includes truffles and medicinal mushrooms like turkey tail and cordyceps. In TCM, the use of medicinal mushrooms goes all the way back to some of the first written medical texts on record. At least 200 mushroom species are used in TCM practices today!
There is a lengthy history of various cultures, such as those in Africa and the Middle East, using truffles in traditional medicine practices and as a high nutritional food. They’ve even been considered a “main component of folk medicine” because they are a rich source of proteins, amino acids (including methionine, cysteine, tryptophan and lysine), fatty acids, fiber, minerals, vitamins, terpenoids, sterols, flavor compounds and carbohydrates.
Wondering where to buy truffle salt? You can buy black truffle salt and other varieties of truffle salt in many specialty stores, health stores, some grocery stores as well as online. If you’re having trouble choosing, read some truffle salt reviews online.
Just like with truffle oil, make sure you are buying truffle salt that contains real truffles rather than just truffle flavoring. It may be a little pricier to get the best truffle salt, but it’s certainly the worth it in terms of both potential benefits and flavor.
You can use truffle salt just like you would any other salt! You just want to make sure that the additional truffle flavor goes well with whatever you are seasoning.
These are some truffle salt recipes not to be missed. Loaded with flavor and nutrition, they’re sure to be crowd pleasers! This Béarnaise Sauce Recipe: For Steaks, Eggs and More would be great with a dash of truffle salt.
Other recipes where truffle salt would make a great addition or substitution for sea salt include:
- Vegan Alfredo Recipe
- Gluten-Free Eggplant Flatbread Pizza
- Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese Casserole
- Cauliflower Steak Recipe with Italian Seasoning
Truffles grow among the roots of trees and can be as deep as one foot (12 inches) underground. This is exactly why it can be so hard to find them and harvest them. Some people with a really good sense of smell can locate truffles unaided, but most often truffle hunting is conducted successfully with the help of a trained dog or a female pig! That’s right — female pigs are actually used to find this culinary delicacy because they are drawn to the scent of truffles since they are similar to male pig pheromones!
As I mentioned earlier, truffles are a significant industry in France. They are collected all over this European country, but the main French truffières (truffle grounds) are in the south of France. In recent years, the French government reforested many large, barren areas of land with trees, especially oak trees, to promote truffle growth.
In French kitchens, the most highly prized truffle is said to be the Périgord (Tuber melanosporum). This truffle is brown or black in color, rounded, and covered with polygonal, wart-like bulges.
Risks and Side Effects
Store truffle salt in an airtight container in a cool, dry place to maintain its quality.
As with any salt, use truffle salt in moderation since it’s naturally high in sodium. Check with your doctor on an appropriate level of daily sodium consumption if you are currently taking medication or are being treated for an ongoing health condition, especially high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver or kidney disease.
- What is a truffle salt? Real truffle salt is a combination of salt and truffle pieces.
- The best truffle salt is one made with pieces of real truffle and an unrefined, high-quality sea salt.
- Research has shown that truffles contain therapeutic compounds with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic properties.
- As with any salt, use truffle salt in moderation since it’s naturally high in sodium.
- Like mushrooms, truffles have a long history of medicinal use in Ayurveda, TCM and traditional medicine, and research studies continue to confirm their many impressive health benefits.