Tiger nuts, one of the hottest super foods in the market. These wrinkled, marble-sized small, tuberous rhizomes of a sedge grass (cyperus esculentus lativum) that’s been cultivated for millennia around the world. With a flavor reminiscent of both coconut and almond, they earn their name from a tiger-striped exterior. They can be eaten freshly dug out of the ground, or cooked–roasted, boiled, or juiced. Packaged tiger nuts have been dried to make them shelf-stable; they’re also sold as tiger nut flour, and as a tiger nut milk. All come with numerous health benefits. Tiger nuts have been around for 4000 years they are a vital component of our ancestors’ diets—that plus the fact that the tiny tubers are high in fiber, low in calories and fat, and non-GMO, making them an attractive ingredient for low-carb and paleo dieters alike.
WHAT ARE THE ACTUAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF TIGER NUTS?
For starters, tiger nuts are super-high in resistant starch fiber, which has been getting a lot of buzz for its weight loss benefits. Resistant starch passes through the stomach and small intestine without being digested, and may even help you lose weight by reducing blood sugar spikes and keeping you fuller longer than other foods with the same number of calories, she says. It also benefits your gut by acting as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract.
One kilogram, raw tiger nuts, contains 120 calories, 10g of fiber (about 40% of your daily value), 9g of naturally occurring sugars, tons of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and iron, and 7g of fat, most of which is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that research shows can help reduce appetite and promote weight loss. For some context, a serving of almonds—about 23 nuts—has 163 calories and about a third of the filling fiber of tiger nuts.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TIGER NUTS BEFORE YOU TRY THEM
People with digestive issues are sensitive to high-fiber foods might experience some gas, bloating, cramping, or diarrhea if you eat too many tiger nuts, but other than that, there aren’t many drawbacks.
HOW TO PREPARE AND EAT TIGER NUTS
Here are 9 ways to use them;
Eat Them Whole
Of course, tiger nuts are delicious in their whole state, and I often eat them by the handful tiger nuts come either. You can also soak tiger nuts for a few hours in order to soften them. I find after about four hours of soaking, the nuts inflate with water and take on the crunchy texture.
Make Tiger Nut Milk
One of the first tiger nut recipes you’ll want to try, is making a simple dairy-free milk. All you really need is to blend with a high-powered blender and sieve with a cheesecloth or a nut milk bag but try soaking your tiger nuts over night and then blending them in a ratio of 2:1, two cups of water to 1 cup of tiger nuts, along with half a vanilla bean. Using a nut milk bag, separate the milk from pulp. chill in the refrigerator and drink. Although you can always skip this step and buy pre-made milks, too. Keep the pulp to re-purpose as tiger nut flour.
Once you have milk, you can use that liquid in countless ways just like dairy milk. Or, you can use the tiger nut milk base and add other flavors to create an oatmeal or with cereal, added to morning coffee, added to various baked goods in place of dairy milk, or just sipped as it is!
Make Tiger Nut Chia Pudding
A natural way to introduce tiger nut milk into your diet is through breakfast cereal, oatmeal, or chia pudding. I love that tiger nuts add a subtle, natural sweetness to dishes, and the milk is perfect. addition to an abundance of dishes. Tiger nut milk is a great vehicle to re-hydrate chia seeds, and once you mix the two, you can add any other flavors you like.
Make Tiger Nut Flour
You can take the leftover tiger nut pulp from step 2 and repurpose that into a “flour” by dehydrating the pulp. From my experience in baking with tiger nut flour, the flour acts similar to almond flour, adding moisture and chewiness. So, I sometimes sub in tiger nut flour for almond. Tiger nuts are a bit sweeter than almonds, so they add a nice natural sweetness to recipes as well. Pre-made tiger nut flours are also available online, or at natural foods markets and Whole Foods.
Make Tiger Nut Cookies
Tiger nut flour is an excellent option for gluten-free bakers. As mentioned, when baked, tiger nut flour works in a recipe similarly to almond flour, with the added boost of a slight sweetness. Here’s a classic chocolate chip version.
Make Tiger Nut Pancakes
Using tiger nut flour, I’ve found that tiger nut pancakes remain moist but not too heavy, and the batter binds well. Feel free to jazz up the recipe with any baking spices you enjoy.
Make Tiger Nut Ice Cream
One of the downsides of non-dairy ice cream is that oftentimes the outcome is less creamy than one might expect. That’s because you’re not adding full-fat milk or egg yolks, ingredients which add to traditional ice cream but because tiger nuts are quite rich on their own, tiger nut milk yields a great ice cream base.
Make Tiger Nut Bread
Tiger nut flour is a great ingredient to add extra moisture and fiber to baked goods, both savory and sweet. Tiger nut flour also works well in breads, which gain their lightness from the addition of baking soda, while eggs bind the loaf together.
Make Tiger Nut Burgers
Anyone who has ever tried a veggie burger will have noted the addition of ingredients like rice, lentils, beans, mushrooms, and, of course, vegetables. Some veggie burgers even incorporate flour or other such ground grains to help join the other ingredients together. So, in place of wheat, tiger nuts serve as a healthier gluten-free option when making a plant-based snack.
A new era for the consumption of tiger nuts has begun. Until now it was strongly linked to the production of horchata but this is changing. This tuber is beginning to gain ground on its own and time will make it receive the attention it deserves. Innovation continues every day. How will the tiger nut surprise us again?
For more information on the current research into Tiger Nuts, see this link.