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Do you find yourself struggling to locate the perfect flavor for your favorite recipes day in and day out?
Are you looking for a delicious solution that works with just about any type of recipe?
Look no further than truffle oil!
Truffle oil is a popular cooking ingredient that has been taking chefs by storm for the past few years. It’s been cropping up more and more frequently in restaurants and popular food trucks both, and now it’s becoming easier for homemakers to bring it into the kitchen, too.
However, when it comes to understanding truffle oil how to make it can be tricky. Making truffle oil at home can save you a lot of money in the long run, but if you aren’t sure how to do it, it might be hard to get the right ratio.
That’s what this article is here for!
In this article, I’ll answer plenty of important questions, such as “How do you make truffle oil?” I’ll give you all the information you need to make any variety of truffle oil you’re looking for, and I’ll be sure you understand the differences between those varieties too. I’ll even give you a crash course in truffles in general, just in case you need a little background information!
No matter what you’re looking to do with your homemade truffle oil, the first step to take is to make it. Read on to learn everything you need to know to get started.
What are Truffles?
Before you can understand what truffle oil is and how to make it yourself, it’s a good idea to have a crash course in truffles in general. Most people tend to think of truffles as a mushroom, but they actually aren’t quite a mushroom at all. They’re distant cousins of mushrooms since both are a type of fungus, but that’s pretty much where the similarities stop. However, truffles do tend to have a flavor that pairs well with mushrooms because of their similar growing habits.
Most truffles grow on the roots of certain types of trees. Many of these trees are nut trees, such as hazelnut or beech trees, but they may also be found on oaks, poplars, and birches too. The truffles are more or less a fungal infection on the trees which grow in their root systems. However, they don’t damage the trees, and in fact, they lend a lot of benefits to their host trees throughout their lifetime. The tree and the truffle form a symbiotic relationship. It can be damaging to the tree to harvest the whole truffle growth from its roots.
It takes a very special climate to cultivate truffles, which is largely why they aren’t available everywhere in the world. Parts of northern Europe have the best climate for truffle growing, so some of the biggest, most flavorful, and most valuable truffles can be found in these regions of France and Italy. More and more frequently, however, truffle growers have been successful in the United States as well as in other climates around the world.
There are a few different types of truffles, which we will explore in the next section. Understanding the different types of truffles can give you a good starting point for knowing the difference between the truffle oils you’re likely to encounter.
Different Types of Truffles
It’s true that there are quite a few different truffle species out there in the world, but two of these remain the most widely popular, well-recognized, and highly sought after. You’re most likely to come across truffle oil made from either black or white truffles, but the differences don’t stop there. When shopping or making your own truffle oil, you might find bottles and recipes that use a specific type of truffle in the process. It’s a good idea to recognize the differences between these before you get started.
- Black Truffles – There are two types of black truffle: winter and summer. The most valuable black truffles grow in the Perigord region in northern France, but other types can be found throughout Europe. Winter black truffles are considered more valuable than summer ones since their flavor is stronger and they have an overall better aroma and texture too. Summer black truffles are less flavorful, but have a nice taste and aroma and they tend to cost much less.
- White Truffles – Like black truffles, white truffles come in both winter and summer varieties. White winter truffles are among the most expensive in the world, and those that are harvested from the Alba region in Italy often top the price lists at major truffle auctions worldwide. If you’ve ever heard of a truffle that sold for an inordinate amount of money, it was probably a winter Alba white truffle. Summer white truffles are found throughout Europe, but they aren’t usually found many other places in the world.
- Pecan Truffles – These are much lower quality truffles that, for a long time, were regarded as garbage and simply thrown away. In recent years, they’ve begun to be more popular as gourmet cooking ingredients. They are grown on the roots of pecan trees and can most commonly be found in Texas and North Carolina. They are a type of black truffle.
- Oregon Truffles – Oregon truffles come in both black and white varieties, although black Oregon truffles are much more common. These truffles grow well in the Pacific Northwest and are comparable to black summer truffle from Europe in taste, aroma, and texture.
Differences Between Truffle Oils
Just like fresh truffles, truffle oil has a few different varieties. You are most likely to come across truffle oil and recipes for making your own truffle oil that focus on either white or black truffles without specifying which types to use. In this section, I’ll detail both variations of this popular ingredient so you can decide which version you’d like to try making first. Once you choose the type of oil you’re interested in, you can move on to learning how to make truffle oil.
Black Truffle Oil
Black truffle oil is a little bit less common than white truffle oil in cooking. However, you’re still likely to come across it in recipes, so it’s a good idea to understand what types of food work best with this oil and which flavors you can expect from it.
- Black truffle oil, like black truffles, has a very earthy and deep flavor. It has a musty aroma that you can smell as soon as you take the top off of its container.
- Some people have compared the taste of black truffle oil to chocolate and red wine. It has a bit of an ammonia smell, but that smell is overwhelmed by the earthiness of the oil for the most part.
- Black truffle oil can be used in small quantities as a cooking oil, especially if you choose to use it for cooking mushrooms or beef. For the most part, however, it works best as a finishing oil. It’s never a good idea to use black truffle oil in large amounts for cooking.
- While beef and mushrooms are great uses of black truffle oil, you can use this tasty ingredient in many other types of food as well. Try it in heartier dishes like pork chops, pot roast, and even pizzas with meat toppings.
- One of the best uses for black truffle oil is to drizzle it over your cooked bread and grain dishes such as flatbread and pasta right before consuming. It also tastes great when mixed into some rice.
White Truffle Oil
White truffle oil is more common, especially in restaurant quality food. This is a lighter oil with a bit less overwhelming of a flavor, which makes it useful for a variety of different foods. Before you make your own, familiarize yourself with the types of recipes you might want to use it in.
- White truffle oil has a very similar flavor and aroma to white truffles. However, eating a fresh white truffle is sure to give you more flavor than you could get from white truffle oil. This is because white truffles are very light, so the full force of their flavor can’t quite infuse into the oil.
- Regardless of this light quality of white truffle oil, it remains very popular. The lighter flavor can really accent certain ingredients, and when you use white truffle oil with certain foods, you can make the taste of the truffle come through beautifully.
- The aroma associated with white truffle oil has an ammonia-like quality, which may be off-putting if you’ve never smelled it before. This may turn some people away from tasting this delicious ingredient, but bear in mind that the smell isn’t the same as the taste. The flavor of the oil is a bit tangy and zippy, with a hint of garlic and onion throughout.
- Because of the garlic-like flavor of white truffle oil, it works beautifully in Italian dishes. It blends nicely into pasta dishes, and it is also delicious on chicken. White truffle oil risotto is another popular dish that incorporates the tasty flavor of this light oil well.
- White truffle oil has a flavor that doesn’t work well as a cooking oil. It should be used as a finishing oil in almost every instance. The ammonia smell may become too strong when this oil is heated for too long, and the nicer flavors in the oil may cook away. Because of this, it is best used for drizzling over your food at the last minute, or for just heating through.
- If you can’t think of any other way to use your white truffle oil, try mixing it into some fluffy, warm scrambled eggs. This is one of the most delicious and simplest ways to enjoy this great ingredient.
How to Make Truffle Oil
Now that you’ve learned a lot about where truffle oil comes from and how to tell the difference between the types of truffle oil, it’s time to learn how truffle oil is made. If you’ll be making your own truffle oil at home, these three methods are some of the most popular. Pick your favorite depending on the amount of time you have, the type of oil you want to work with, and the flavor of truffle you want to achieve. You’ll have delicious homemade truffle oil in no time when you follow these simple methods.
1. Black Truffle Oil – Version One
Try this version of making truffle oil at home when you want to get the job done quickly and easily with as few extra ingredients as possible. This is one of the easiest methods to learn how to make black truffle oil, and it makes for a delicious oil that is sure to last for a long while. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- 1 to 2 very ripe black winter truffles
- High-quality extra-virgin olive oil
- Sealable jar or bottle
1. Add 2 cups of extra-virgin olive oil to a small pot on the stovetop.
2. Heat slowly over low until very warm, but not yet simmering. Do not boil.
3. While oil is heating, use a grater or a micro plane to shave fine pieces of truffle.
4. Shave at least one whole ripe truffle and set aside.
5. When the oil has warmed, remove from heat and stir in truffle pieces.
6. Pour mixture into your sealable jar or bottle. Close tightly to remove air.
7. Store for at least 2 days in a cool, dark place to steep.
8. Strain out truffle pieces and reserve for adding to other recipes within the next few days.
9. Use truffle oil when ready.
2. Black Truffle Oil – Version Two
Use this method of truffle oil preparation if you prefer not to chop up your truffle and hope to keep it whole for a long period of time. This is a unique variation on the more traditional way to infuse oil with truffle flavor, but it works just as well for home preparation.
- 1 large whole ripe black summer truffle
- 1 liter of sunflower oil
- Sealable jar or bottle
1. Set up a double boiler on the stovetop over low heat. To do this, fill a medium pot with about 1 to 2 inches of water and bring to a rolling boil. Turn to a simmer and place a bowl inside the pot, not touching the water.
2. Add 1 liter of sunflower oil to the bowl of your double boiler.
3. Gently warm the sunflower oil while stirring periodically.
4. Meanwhile, place your whole truffle into the bottom of your jar or bottle.
5. When the oil is warm but not boiling, pour it directly over the truffle.
6. Seal the container tightly and set aside in a cool, dry place for at least 24 hours.
7. When the oil has finished steeping, remove the truffle and reserve for later use.
8. Keep this oil in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
3. White Truffle Oil
While black truffle oil may be a little bit easier and more cost-efficient to make, you can still make white truffle oil at home almost as simply. The biggest thing to keep in mind when learning how to make white truffle oil is that too much heat can damage these delicate truffles, so it’s better to keep them off the heat as much as possible.
- High-quality grapeseed oil
- 1 to 2 large white truffles or 1 small jar of white truffle pieces
- Sealable jar or bottle
1. Place the grapeseed oil in a small saucepan over very low heat on the stovetop.
2. Warm very gently for a few minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
3. While preparing the oil, finely chop your white truffles or jarred truffle pieces into small pieces.
4. Add to the warmed oil after it has cooled slightly. Stir.
5. Pour oil into a sealable jar and close tightly.
6. Let steep for at least 12 hours or up to 3 days.
7. Leave truffle pieces in the oil if you will be using it within one week.
8. Store in the refrigerator.
Tips and Tricks for Making Your Own Truffle Oil
When you follow the methods listed above, you can make delicious and flavorful truffle oil that works well in any recipe you want to prepare. However, there are a few tips and tricks you can keep in mind when you want to improve the quality of that oil and keep it fresh for as long as possible. Check out the tips listed below to make your homemade truffle oil experience even better than ever before.
- Heat your truffle oil if you’re keeping it in the refrigerator. Oil kept in the refrigerator is prone to separating or becoming opaque and thick. This doesn’t mean that it’s spoiled! Simply put it in a double boiler or heat it in a saucepan very slowly over low heat until it becomes clear again. This can help you bring life back into oil that has been stored a little too long.
- Consider storing your oil in a bottle made for winemaking. You can purchase sets made for making wine at home that include bottles that can be sealed in unique airtight methods. This can help you store your truffle oil and keep it fresh for even longer.
- Leave the truffle pieces in your oil as long as possible. The longer you let the pieces of truffle steep in the oil, the more flavorful the oil will become. However, try not to leave the pieces in the oil for more than three days. This may cause more bacteria to grow in the oil, which could cause you to become ill. Three days is usually the limit, but try to steep the oil at least 12 hours if possible.
- Never use low-quality oils. Only high-quality oils should be used because these are much better in terms of flavor as well as the ability to soak up the taste of the truffles. However, olive oil is not the only type of oil you can use. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try other oils, but be sure to stick to quality options.
- Keep water away from your oils. Although water and oil repel each other and the water won’t mix into your oil, you can still cause a decrease in quality in your truffle oil if it becomes too wet. Try to keep water from getting into your storage container, and if you will be reusing a bottle or jar you’ve already used in the past, be sure to wash and dry it out well before storing truffle oil in it.
Now that you’ve finished reading, you should feel ready to prepare your own truffle oil at home right away! You’ve learned a lot about where truffles come from and what different varieties exist, as well as what to expect from their different flavors when you use them in the oils you make yourself. You’ve even been provided with a few different methods to help you find the perfect homemade truffle oil to fit your needs.
Now that you’ve been given all this information, it’s time to head to the kitchen and make your truffle oil! Pick up fresh truffles if you choose to use this method or purchase jarred truffles if you prefer instead. It won’t take you long to prepare the perfect oil that is sure to taste great in just about any recipe you want to make.
It can be a little intimidating to think of making truffle oil for yourself, but don’t worry! With these tips, you’ll be able to make the perfect oil every time you try. Remember to keep it stored in the refrigerator, and to use it within ten days to two weeks if possible to reduce the risk of bacteria.
Pretty soon, you’ll have truffle oil that tastes great and is made from quality ingredients. You’ll never have to worry again about the quality of the oil you purchase from stores because you’ll be completely in charge of the oil you make for use at home. Get ready to have amazing flavors in every recipe when you use your homemade truffle oil!