Have You Tried: Tiger Nuts?
Have you tasted an “earth almond” or a “yellow nut sedge”? Those are alter egos for the tiger nut, an intriguing superfood that is gaining some serious popularity in the United States.
One of the most-interesting facts about these nuts is that they aren’t actually nuts at all.
Coming from the cyperus esculentus plant, tiger nuts are also referred to as "chufas."
These “nuts” are actually tubers, with a thickened stem that grows underground, like potatoes. The blueberry-size, wrinkled nibbles are firm at the first bite, then chewy with a mild nutty flavor. For many uses it is necessary to soak them first to soften them up.
You can find tiger nuts at many health food stores or purchase them online. They are fairly pricey — a bag of organic tiger nuts from a popular online retailer costs $2.60 per ounce.
Tiger nuts are an allergen-free alternative for folks who can’t munch on peanuts or tree nuts; they are also gluten-free. One ounce of tiger nuts (about 50 pieces) contains 120 calories, 7 grams of total fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 19 grams of carbs and an impressive 10 grams of fiber (that’s 40 percent of your daily needs). They also contain many vitamins and minerals, including vitamins E and B6, plus calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc.
- Combine tiger nuts with nuts and dried fruit for an energy-packed trail mix.
- Grind tiger nuts in the food processor to make a gluten-free flour for cookies, cakes and pancakes.
- Soak, blend and strain tiger nuts to make the milky drink known as horchata.
- Chop and sprinkle tiger nuts over salad or yogurt.
- Make granola: Soak, chop, then combine tiger nuts with oats, agave and sweetened coconut, and bake until golden.
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.