Have you heard of the hottest new superfood? They’re called tiger nuts, and they’re not actually nuts at all.
So what are they, and what are the benefits of eating them?
If you’ve started seeing this trendy superfood all of a sudden, you’re not imagining things. Though they’ve been around for centuries, they’ve been relatively unknown in the United States until recently.
What Are Tiger Nuts?
The name is slightly misleading since they aren’t actually nuts — and clearly, they aren’t tigers, either. Tiger nuts are actually tubers, like potatoes or yams, and come from a plant called yellow nutsedge. They get the name from their wrinkled, stripy exterior. You may also see them called earth almonds, groundnuts, or chufa.
These ancient root vegetables have been cultivated by people for centuries. In fact, it’s one of the oldest cultivated plants and was an important food in prehistoric and Ancient Egypt.
What’s So Good About Them?
Okay, so why are they a superfood? As it turns out, tiger nuts pack a seriously nutritious punch.
They are super high in resistant starch fiber, which may reduce blood sugar spikes and aid in keeping you feel satisfied. Resistant starch fiber can also act as a prebiotic, stimulating good bacteria in your digestive tract.
On top of that, these tubers are also a good source of plant-based protein, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and more.
Tiger nuts are both gluten-free and dairy-free, making them suitable for vegetarian and gluten-free diets. They’re also a good substitute for anyone allergic to nuts, since, well, they’re not really nuts!
What They Taste Like, and How to Eat Them
But what about the taste? Sure, they’re healthy and all, but are they any good? And how can you add them to your diet?
Tiger nuts are a little on the earthy side and taste similar to coconut and almond. They’re naturally sweet and creamy, with a rich, nutty flavor. You’ll find them slightly chewy on the inside, though the texture can vary depending on how they are prepared.
You can eat them raw right out of the ground, roasted, soaked, boiled, or juiced. You can even find them ground into tiger nut flour.
If you’ve never tried tiger nuts before, try eating them raw out of the bag. You can find them dried in your grocer’s bulk bins, and they may come peeled or unpeeled. Which one you prefer is a matter of personal preference, but the unpeeled ones are usually lauded for better flavor and more fiber.
If you’re not in love with the texture, you can also soak or boil them before eating them or adding them to dishes. Soaked tiger nuts can even be added to smoothies.
You can also buy sliced tiger nuts, similar to rolled oats, which are easier to incorporate into recipes. Put them on top of your yogurt or smoothie bowls, or mix them into your trail mix and granola.
Tiger nut flour is even a thing. It brings an impressive nutritional profile to your baking, while also being a gluten-free flour alternative. If you try out tiger nut flour, though, sift it before using it. It’s known for having a grittier texture than regular flour.
Of course, if you’ve ever had Spanish-style horchata de chufa, you’ve already had tiger nut milk! The tubers are soaked, ground, and sweetened, and the refreshing drink is served over ice.