What Are Tiger Nuts? (Hint: They're Not Nuts!)
Tiger nuts. Sounds interesting, right? Turns out they’re technically called “Cyperus esculentus tubers”, are not actually nuts at all, and are one of the most ancient food sources known to humanity!
Tiger nuts are also called chufa (in Spanish), earth nut, yellow nut sedge, groundnut, rush nut, and edible galingale. They were a staple source of nutrition in ancient African & Egyptian civilisations and are still traditional food to this day for many areas of the world including southern Europe, Africa, Madagascar, the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent.
WHAT ARE THE NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF TIGER NUTS?
- They are rich in oleic acid and glucose, as well as in phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins C and E (1, 2),
- Tigernuts are also said to act as a mild appetite suppressant because they contain resistant starch, a type of prebiotic starch, meaning it resists digestion, which helps us to feel fuller for longer, boosts our immune system, feeds our good gut bacteria, and reduces the amount of calories we absorb from the food, (3)
- Studies also show they can help to prevent heart disease and thrombosis, improving blood circulation,
- They may also assist in reducing the risk of colon cancer by increasing our gut microbes output of short chain fatty acids, (4)
- And they may even have aphrodisiac properties (in rats at least!) (5)
100g of tiger nuts contain, on average:
- 23.5g fibre,
- 4g protein,
- 17.7g fat,
- 43.9g carbohydrates,
- And 19.7g naturally occurring sugars.
A typical serve is around 30g, and provides you with up to 28% of your daily recommended dietary fibre!
WHAT DO TIGER NUTS TASTE LIKE?
They taste sweet, with a hint of coconut, and have a chewy texture. The flour is naturally sweet as well so you can use less sweetener in your cooking - woohoo!
HOW CAN I USE TIGER NUTS?
You can eat them straight from the bag, and you can get them raw, roasted or dried.
I like to chew them as they are tough to chew on, but have a sweet centre that’s fun to break into and gives a burst of coconut-like flavour. Plus, they’ll help to curb your appetite pretty quick!
The most common way to use them is a traditional drink called horchata de chufa - or horchata for short. Traditionally you soak, blend, then squeeze the ‘milk’ from the tiger nuts (like you would any nut milk), then add a sugar of choice, and cinnamon or other spices.
It makes an incredibly refreshing drink when served icy cold! But I think it’s naturally sweet enough, so the first time I made it, I only added half a vanilla bean and it was delicious!!
You can also use the flour as a replacement for most of your baking including breads, muffins, cookies, and cakes, making it an awesome gluten, dairy and nut free option for those with food intolerances or allergies. (8)
WHERE CAN I BUY TIGER NUTS?
I was sent some product to try by the lovely team at Health & Harvest and fell in love with the quality, nutrition and taste of the product. So much so that I decided to stock them, and became the Health & Harvest ambassador!
Not sure how to get the most out of your bag of tiger nuts, or tiger nut flour?
Don’t worry! You’ll be seeing some easy, allergen-friendly recipes popping up on the blog in the coming months for you to try, and believe me, they’ve been taste-tested by the fussiest - my other half who is a fine dining trained chef, and my dog Hope. Both loved them! :) Stay tuned!