Desert Truffles
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Though some actual Truffles (Family Tuber) may be found in Africa and Arabia, the term Desert Truffles, actually refers to near-Truffles of the family Terfeziaceae . The most common are Terfeziaceae Terfezia and Terfeziaceae Tirmania, both of which are more potato like but have a very faint, almost imperceptible, Truffle scent. 

The Romans used the Terfez in their cooking from Lesbos, Carthage and Libya and called them “Truffles.” Because they have little inherent flavor and are excellent at absorbing flavors, the Romans used the terfez as flavor carriers.

Desert Truffles range in color from café au lait to walnut-brown and they are roundish with lobes and bumps and a spongy texture. Though some can grow to the size of a melon, most range from the size of an egg to the size of a hazelnut.

The Arabic names include: HashmaKudhrrugrugjaraidjariad ach-chima and jerait, which are all important plants for grazing herbivores, including camels, in the late spring. Desert Truffles can be found, usually by word of mouth, in Middle Eastern Farmer’s Markets sold off the back of trucks.

Purchasing

Because they live under the sand, Desert Truffles are very sandy when purchased. For use they need to be rinsed, and re-rinsed, before chopping them up and rinsing the pieces a final time. If using canned Desert Truffles, drain them and rinse twice before cutting them into bite-sized pieces. Set them aside for at least 5-6 minutes before use.

Culinary Uses

Desert Truffles are still as adept at carrying flavors as they were in the Roman times. Today, in the Middle East they are Boiled and Garnished with Sautéed OnionRoasted Garlic and Tomato Sauce and flavored with the native spices typically employed with indigenous meat dishes. They can also be found used with Eggs, or Aromatics.

Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

Yes

Low Calorie

Yes