I thought I would post about this today to save a lot of confusion. Many people ask me if these are truffles. A common and easy mistake to make for the novice forager although quite difficult explaining to people when they think they have hit a gold mine that these are in fact Earthballs or False Truffles, hate being a kill joy! However glad I got there before they decided to eat it. Earthballs smell quite pleasant and mushroomy its understandable some might be tempted but visually its a mass of black unpleasant looking spores, not remotely appealing to eat. Most Earthballs are poisonous too or certainly not edible. There are other species within this genus that look similar to the Common Earthball, the Leopard Earthball and the Scaly Earthball.
The pictures below sent in (thank you Richard/Arthur Dailey ;-)) I believe of an immature Scleroderma spp, sometimes hard to id 100% by photo, non the less not truffle! Microscopic examination of the spores from a mature specimen is sometimes necessary to determine correct species with this genus. When spores are mature they turn black.
Again these photos below are not truffle,(thank you Thomas Mcclymont)I believe to be mature Yellow False Truffles, Rhizopogon genus they have initially a thick, smooth outer wall covered in mycelium strands which can become cracked with age as do most Scleroderma species. A good example of the black tar like spores, this is what to expect when looking at the inside of either of these mature species, otherwise they are whitish/cream coloured when young as above.
This is what the inside of a truffle T aestivum should look like, marbled brown and with light veins running throughout the fruiting body.
Or when young and immature like in my logo picture, the gleba are white inside.
The outside of the Summer truffle should have black premedical warts like pictured below.
Hope this helps!
I now offer a service managing large areas of woodlands in suitable areas for the sustainable production of wild truffle, a new concept for this country and abroad so I am told. An idea that I have been studying for some time now and with my forestry background coupled with my knowledge of truffle it proves to be a concept which could be very interesting for the future, for the landowner and all concerned, increasing income from woodlands other than timber and pheasant rearing and shooting. This is an attractive concept as there is so little money in forestry. This form of agro forestry management will not only provide a sustainable crop of truffle over many generations but it will help conserve these delicate areas too, if managed correctly which is my intention and primary aim. This will be a new type of agro forestry considered for the wild undertaken in England and performed within existing woodland of all ages in suitable chalky areas.
The areas considered will be researched, surveyed and monitored every year to assess results from harvesting and record any positive/negative factors i.e. climatic conditions, plus many other variables which could affect production either way and with a regard to what can be done to improve production at all times within natural parameters and existing management objectives.
I will have the scientific support from a leading gentleman in the UK and international truffle industry, helping me monitor and record all data involved with such a ventures. Projects such as this provide the means for interesting research opportunities in the UK as well as the commercial viability, which is equally important.
Harvesting truffle and managing woodland for the sustainable production of truffle is more than achievable in most woodlands that fit the criteria on the South downs, North Downs and other chalk or limestone regions. If you own woodland and are interested in any of the above please contact me for further enquiries, incidentally you would also be contributing valuable truffle data for the UK as part of the research that would be involved to oversea harvesting practices. Survey of site for suitability can be undertaken for initial fee and if suitable, harvesting and monitoring proposal with partnership details per site can be arranged free of charge for you to consider.
The result of a venture like this is that we will be able to manage woodland for the sustainable production of wild truffle, providing Sussex and the UK food market with small quantities of a very desirable luxury and locally produced gourmet product. Fit for fine dining and many other culinary uses whilst conserving these delicate, rather undervalued but fruitful areas, in soil generally considered infertile. . . .what could be better to raise the spirits of the frugal landowner and increase truffle awareness!
Complete coincidence we seem to like the same hats or somehow its a truffling tradition . . . . I do also often wear a cravat, which my friends love to ridicule, not to mention the plus fours! I’m liking his look and will have to invest in a gown or similar shirt with billowing sleeves, keeping the tradition alive! Maybe I will do a themed 18th century foray, that will make a change, anyone?
Tuber aestivum, a Summer truffle with Wild Marjoram more commonly known as the mediterranean herb Oregano. I think it is going to be another good year, certainly mature specimens are to be found now, I generally wait till September but it is an early one for me this year so anyone wanting truffle hunting days out book now for this season 0789 615 6664
Clathrus ruber, what a great find ;-)