Posted in Cooking and Recipes, Foodies, Lifelong Learning, Travel

Almond of the Earth, the Earth Nut – so Milky, so sweet

What it is and is not – Tigernuts are not for Tigers.  It is not a nut but an edible tuber, a vegetable like a potato; ranges in color from brownish yellow to dark brown in color and with a rough skin.  Sweet, starchy and intensely flavored nut. Tastes like almonds and hazelnuts with a hint of vanilla.

A bit of History and More. Dates as far back as 4,000 years to Ancient Egypt.  Member of the Cyperaceae family.  Cyperus esculentus (Spain) cultivated in the Valencia area.  Other relatives Cyperus papyrus (Egypt) from which paper was made and Cyperus rotunda in south Asia which has been used in the Indian subcontinent as a remedy for all manner of ailments. Cyperus rotunda is also known as motha or nagarmotha in Hindi and mustak or mustaki in Sanskrit.

What to do.  Used to make the Chufa milk which is the base for Horchata de chufas (“Orxata de xufes” in Valencia) which may serve as a diary alternative for the lactose intolerant.

Tiger nuts, Image Credit: La Tienda.com
Tiger nuts, Image Credit: La Tienda.com

Horchata,  generally refers to the milky extract from almonds, rice, barley and tiger nuts.  It is not to be confused with the Mexican Horchata, a rice milk.  Horchata de Chufa is also known as Kunun Aya (Nigeria). Care to take it up a notch, add a touch of heat and BAM! Kunun Zaki, there you have it.

Other flavoring agents that may be added to Horchata include ginger, licorice, dandelion, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon and sugar.

Nutritional and Health Benefits of Tiger nuts.  Rich in Phosphorous and potassium, Vitamins E and C; High fiber content.  The high oleic acid content and low acidity is good for the skin.

Although Tiger nut oil is from a vegetable, gold-yellow in color and neutral to taste, as opposed to the  olive oil, which is green in color with a characteristic taste and from a nut, the fatty acid compositions of both oils are similar.  Tiger nut oil is used in the treatment of flatulence, indigestion and diarrhea and has been found to be good in preventing the thickening and hardening of the walls of the arteries which impairs blood circulation .

Other Notable Facts. Chufa (Spanish).  Pronunciation – (choo’ fa) n. meaning -ground Almond.  Akas (also known as) Zulu nut, yellow nut grass, Ofio, Aki Hausa.  Tiger nut flour is good for celiac patients because it is gluten free.

Spain is a leading producer of the Tigernuts.  Serves as excellent bait for fishing (carp).  Used as a mouthwash to treat mouth ulcers.  Composed mainly of insoluble dietary fiber and higher than most other sources of fiber including oat bran, rice bran and chia seeds.

Used to prepare “atadwe milk” (Ghana); used as a flavoring agent for ice cream and as a substitute for almonds in baking.  The flour of roasted Tiger nuts may be added to baked products and used in making soaps.

Tiger nuts are a winter food source for wild turkeys and planted for hogs.  Similar to Imil and Tamarind, Cyperus rotunda from Asia is used to augment the size of female breasts.

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Broad based knowledge seeker; outside and beyond the box - arts and culture, travel, writing, christian faith walk, good reads and refreshing conversation - and not necessarily in that order. Storytelling by connecting the dots between the traditional and non-traditional, the obvious and not so obvious.

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