Reply To: Tim & Molly

Alana McGee

Truffles emitting scent when ripe:

Ah yes, this question. Yes, truffles give off odor when ripe. HOWEVER they will give off odor when they are not quite entirely ripe (but some of it is), mostly ripe, perfectly ripe, and over ripe.

It’s nitpicky, and most consumers will have NO idea. In fact I often see distributors selling summer truffles far before they should. Do they have aroma? Yes, but not a lot, but there is a marketplace for them. The truffles that are coming out of the ground now have more aroma and are more valuable. This is where the Summer truffle vs Burgundy truffle debate comes in. It’s a big topic, and Paul’s specialty, but the “burgundy” truffle is basically a letter ripening time on a summer truffle so aroma is more concentrated.

OVER time (and we consider it an advanced skill–we cover in Lvl 3) you can select for alerts only on the ripest truffles through discrimination. We don’t advocate starting that process in earnest until you have a very solid reward history, and in your case until you have production really coming out on your orchard. Right now Tim you’re in the phase of proving concept that your orchard is ‘online’. That’s your focus. Any truffles at all coming out are AWESOME. It is also is unlikely to be an issue for most summer truffles as you can control ‘when’ you are looking and thus the spectrum of approximate ripeness.

Truffles off-gas when the spores are maturing, but just because some of the truffle is mature doesn’t mean all of it is. This is where you as a handler come in to play more at this stage in your dog’s training, As well as you as an orchard owner. It’s your job as an orchard owner/ harvester to know what season/ weeks are the best to harvest. In the UK for farmed truffles, it’s still a bit up in the air, but now through the end of the year and beyond is good. Anything you & Molly find now, ripe or mostly ripe is incredibly valuable information.

Right now if Molly were to find truffle on your orchard- awesome- no matter where it is in the ripeness “spectrum” awesome, go Molly! A green dog without a lot of reward history will select and alert usually on off gassing (meaning ripeness) of any kind within reason.

A dog will not alert on a completely unripe truffle because there is no aroma they can detect. Dogs are detecting a gas that comes off the truffle with maturity.

Here is a photo (of Perigords in various stages of ripeness- Summer truffles will look a wee bit different, but same idea)

Dogs will not alert on truffle #1, unlikely to alert on #2, A green dog may alert on #3, and all well trained dogs should alert on #4. That’s what unripe truffles look like. Again, not as much of an issue for those of you growing Burgundy/summer truffles as it is for folks in colder climates growing Perigord.

Having dogs alert on the “perfect” ripeness takes time and a decent reward history on a variety of individual fruit bodies. The more you can practice or have positive histories with finding them, the better!

There are very specific things you can do to hone in on certain Volatiles of ripeness, but again we consider it an advanced skill and one we strongly urge folks don’t jump to until after they have had some harvesting under their belt and are comfortable.

This is overkill, but you asked 😉

  • This reply was modified 8 years, 7 months ago by Alana McGee.