When I was growing up in southern California, the only black truffle I had ever seen was in the vegetable section at the local supermarket. Back then, they called it black peyote. For some reason, it still gets me nervous whenever I think about that aisle. Well, maybe there are a lot more interesting varieties out there, but if you’re looking for truffle salt, the best choice is still going to be this one.
A truffle is actually the reproductive body of a microscopic ascomygian fungus, mostly one of the Saccharinae species of the family called Coccineae. Besides Tuber, other genera of fungus are also classified as truffle salts, including Geopora and Leucangium. While it’s not clear why this popular salt has assumed such a name, the widely held belief is that it probably got its name because of its appearance: black spherical veneers on the interior of each leaf of this succulent green plant. The leaves have been shown to contain a special chemical element known as chlorophyll.
It’s not a stretch to imagine that the black truffle salt on offer today got their name from the same source. The leaves of this plant were eaten by early Native Americans, who believed that they contained medicinal qualities. Today, the compound known as black truffle salt has been found to have many antibiotic qualities and is especially well known for its ability to prevent yeast infections. For people who like their food a little salty, this is certainly an improvement!
A third idea behind the name originates from the color itself, black. In nature, there’s nothing quite as attractive as the contrast between deep purple algae blooms and reflective marine life. In the laboratory, the black truffle salt’s optical properties give it the appearance of small grains of sea salt or charcoal, which can be sprinkled on dishes to resemble the motes. In theory, the use of this salt in the kitchen should lend a subtle, complimentary hue to any range of foods, not just those rich in calcium and magnesium!
The third reason for using black truffle salt has nothing to do with taste or smell. It has to do with health, diet, and lifestyle. This salt is a great example of a multi-purpose ingredient, retaining many of its healthful qualities even when its primary function is to season foods.
People all over the world are raving about how great black truffle salt is. With such uniformly beautiful crystals, no wonder it’s taken off as a trendy addition to kitchen shelves. If you’ve never tried this salt, give it a try. Your taste buds will likely love it! You’ll find that it adds an unusual zest to dishes, makes them melt in your mouth, and adds a new dimension to your food preparation. Give it a try; you’ve got nothing to lose.