Terfezia arenaria (Terfezia arenaria)

Terfazias are a group of hypogeous ascomycete fungi, considered good edible, which fructify buried or half-buried under the ground.

The ground creadillas. One of the most sought-after mushrooms of spring


Ground squirrels are a group of hypogeous ascomycetes fungiconsidered good foodstuffswhich bear fruit buried or semi-buried underground, characterized by the following characteristics its rather fleshy, potato-shaped fruiting body with the outer surface or peridium smooth and the gleba with numerous rounded islets separated by paler sterile veins.

They have been highly appreciated in some rural areas of many Spanish provinces, generally in the southern half of the peninsula, since time immemorial for the preparation of numerous traditional dishes. This is why they are given many common names in Spain. such as criadilla de tierra or turma (generally throughout Spain), bataca (in some areas of western Zamora and Salamanca), papacría (Canary Islands), patata de tierra (south of Avila, south of Salamanca, Extremadura and Castilla la Mancha), topera (Madrid), tuba (Sierra de Orce), turma de monte (Aragón) and turma rogenca (Valencia) or in Portugal, tubera (ORIA DE RUEDA &…). col., 2007).

Large cryadillas are characterized by their large size, reaching up to 12 cm in diameter, the peridium quite thick, the gleba with pinkish-brown islets at maturity. Due to their large size, they are the best edible and fetch the highest prices in the market.

Terfezia arenaria: The peridium is whitish pinkish. Fructifies during the spring associated with the turmeric grass or mother of the cridillas(Tuberaria guttata) in acid soils of the western half of the peninsula. It is known by the common name of “criadilla vaquera”. It can be found in Extremadura, southern Castilla y León (Ávila, Salamanca, Zamora) and Andalucía.

How are ground sprouts harvested?

For the utilization of earthen crystals there are no national or regional regulations and there is no established harvesting scheduleas in the case of black truffles, except in the Canary Islands (Fuerteventura and Lanzarote) which regulates the harvesting in natural areas, establishing a calendar for the harvesting of criadillas between February 15 and April 30. On the other hand, in many Spanish regions, only those species that appear in the annex of marketable species in the state regulations (Royal Decree 30/2009), i.e., T. arenaria, T. claveryi and T. claveryi, may be harvested. .T. leptoderma (currently I assume it refers to T. fanfani). To collect the rest of the species in many communities a scientific card is required, in others it is free for the time being. In view of this situation, it seems necessary to include other species of the genus Terfezia widely collected and consumed by hobbyists such as T. boudieri, T. canariensis or T. extremadurensis.

They are collected by observing a small bulge or crack in the soil, and with the help of a digging tool they are extracted from the soil, being careful not to break them. At some areas of Extremadura are searched with the help of a skewer.This practice is not highly recommended because it can cause damage to some reptiles, amphibians or structures of some plants (bulbs, corms, rhizomes), with which possible cracks or bulges are punctured until you feel that you have punctured a small baby. These forms are harvested immature criadillas so they have little taste and odor. A trained dog can be used to obtain ripe ones. It is always recommended to cover the holes made for the extractions to avoid infections in the mycelium.

How to preserve and consume the earthen criadillas?

The ground criadillas are quite perishable when fresh, lasting approximately 5-10 days in the refrigerator depending on the species and the state of maturity. Before consuming or preserving them , it is important to clean them with plenty of water with the help of a brush, to remove soil particles adhering to the peridium. The simplest and most recommended method of preservation is freezing. They are traditionally consumed with soups, pastas or in omelets alone or with wild asparagus. In recent years, new innovative dishes are being created using criadillas as a garnish for numerous meats and fish.