White truffles in Umbria and their conservation
he white truffle is the rarest and most prized of the varieties. The scientific name is Tuber Magnatum Pico: magnatum, because it was destined for consumption by magnates, the great tycoons of the table, and Pico from the name of the Turin physician who first described its characteristics in 1788. Of all the types of truffles, this one can grow to the largest size. It is egg-shaped, yellow-white on the outside with a hazelnut beige on the inside, depending on how ripe it is. Did you know that up to 80% of it is water? It grows in the limestone ground found in the areas of Città di Castello, Umbertide, Pietralunga, Montone, Monte S. Maria Tiberina, Citerna, S. Giustino, Gubbio, Scheggia, Pascelupo, Costacciaro, Sigillo, Fossato di Vico, Gualdo Tadino, Valfabbrica, Orvieto, Porano, Montecchio, Baschi, Castel Giorgio, Castel Viscardo, Allerona, Ficulle, Parrano, Montegabbione, Monteleone d'Orvieto and Fabro.
Remember that to fully enjoy the flavour and aroma of the truffle, it should be eaten while still fresh. Although seasonal, they can be preserved. The most common manner is by freezing them, either whole or already grated. First, however, they must be carefully cleaned and dried.
You can even dry them in thin slices and then ready them for use by soaking them in warm water or milk. Some people preserve them in glass jars with a tablespoon of salt after having boiled them for at least an hour, depending on their size. But no matter how you conserve them, the flavour and aroma never quite compare to that of a fresh truffle.