KUWAIT: Being leafless, flowerless, stemless or even rootless, truffle is really a treasure buried along the desert, with Kuwaiti people, especially Bedouins, adoring it in spite of its high price. The truffle harvesting season coincides with Kuwait’s national celebrations, boosting the already joyous atmosphere in the Gulf country, with people enjoying efforts to find this sweet-scented fungi among rocks and fragrant wild plants.
On this occasion, Ouda Al-Bathali, a Kuwaiti researcher, speaking to KUNA, said truffle is a type of fungus formed after the fall of rains and soil irrigation. It grows in desert areas and sand environment, formed in groups ranging between 10 and 20 plants at the same place. Bearing various names, truffle looks like potato but differs in color and scent and usually grows in soft slightly saline soil, Al-Bathali said.
Elaborating, he said this fungus is closely connected with rainfalls in Al-Wasem season, which falls between December and February, associated with lightning and thunder. Lightning, which always helps increase nitrogen oxide concentration in air, comes together with downpour to create various types of fungi, including truffle, and that’s why it is sometimes called “daughter of lightning”. Truffle always hinges upon a host plant to live in a symbiotic manner and emerges in areas that have never been trodden by humans, according to the Kuwaiti researcher.
Growing near tree roots, this fungus could be white, brown or black and has different sizes ranging from three to 40 centimeters per plant, weighing between 20 and 400 grams, he remarked. Truffle is deemed a rate plant that shows up independently and grown on natural rain, rather than artificial environments, Al-Bathali pointed out. It is rich in proteins, carbohydrates, fats and minerals that are similar to those found in the human body, including phosphor, sodium, calcium and potassium, he added.
There are four well-known types of truffle, the most famous and most expensive of which is called “Al-Zubaidi” which has a pleasant scent and is mostly white and big and of high nutritional value. On demand for truffle in Kuwait, Khalaf Al-Enezi, a truffle seller, said the price of truffle at present is very high due to a shortage of Kuwaiti and even Gulf truffle.
But, he said that the harvesting season is still in the beginning so it is expected to be highly available later this month, estimating its current price at 16-20 Kuwaiti dinars. Al-Enezi said the price is forecast to dwindle away with large quantities of this delicious plant coming in from neighboring countries, mainly Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran. – KUNA