The Risks and Rewards of the Remarkable Desert Truffle - Mysterious to scientists, dangerous for foragers, and coveted by gastronomes.


In good years, fall and winter thunderstorms drench the deserts east of the Mediterranean. In early spring, the soil cracks in some places, the swelling signs of desert truffles below. An age-old harvest begins.

In the Middle East, humans have foraged these unique mushrooms for millennia, scanning broken earth for protein-rich knobs to eat, sell, or use in medicine. They havenít stopped of late, despite the threat of kidnappings and landmines. For some inhabitants of these deserts, the truffles are worth the risk.