Ever heard of tiger nuts? They sound very like nuts but are actually the small dried edible tuber of a kind of sedge which is grown in the ground like potatoes. Also known as cyperus esculentus or chufa sedge, nut grass, yellow nutsedge, tigernut sedge, or earth almond it is found in sub tropical countries and parts of Europe. Today it’s popular in Spain and is used to make a non-alcoholic milky beverage called Horchata de chufa.
How do you use Tiger nuts?
To use the tiger nuts, which have a slightly sweet, nutty flavour and are quite hard, you need to soak them in water before you eat them.
They have been used for centuries across Africa and even in Egypt
(From Wiki) “Flour of roasted tigernut is sometimes added to biscuits and other bakery products as well as in making oil, soap, and starch extracts. It is also used for the production of nougat, jam, beer, and as a flavoring agent in ice cream and in the preparation of kunnu (a local beverage in Nigeria). Kunnu is a nonalcoholic beverage prepared mainly from cereals (such as millet or sorghum) by heating and mixing with spices (dandelion, alligator pepper, ginger, licorice) and sugar. To make up for the poor nutritional value of kunnu prepared from cereals, tigernut was found to be a good substitute for cereal grains. Tigernuts oil can be used naturally with salads or for deep frying. It is considered as high quality oil. Tigernut “milk” has been tried as an alternative source of milk in fermented products, such as yogurt production, and other fermented products common in some African countries and can thus be useful replacing milk in the diet of people intolerant to lactose to a certain extent.”
So are Tiger nuts actually nuts?
So far my research has shown that tiger nuts are not nuts at all and are actually packed with natural goodness. They are a good source of fibre and are also naturally gluten free.
However I did find a few instances of reported allergies to tiger nuts in Spain.
You can get a drink containing Tigernuts – Each 500ml bottle makes a total of of 2.5 litres.
It is a concentrated organic tigernut drink which you dilute with water, use as a drink mixer or for in cooking. It is made with tigernuts, is a dairy free alternative to milk and is gluten free – suitable for coeliacs.
All this drink is made from is tiger nuts, water, sugar and xanthan gum.
For even more information about tiger nuts, their dietary information and recipes check out the Ancient Foods blog here.
Have you tried Horchata or eaten tiger nuts?
Where can I buy Tiger nut products?
If you live in America you can buy them through https://tigernutsusa.com
Or had you never even heard of them before like me?
No doctor has never mentioned them to me either so next time I visit I’ll ask for an allergy test before I try them, if I can get hold of some.
Anyone know where you can buy just tiger nuts in the shops in the UK?
And finally, is there anyone out there with a nut allergy who can eat tiger nuts? I would love to hear from you, are they nice? Would you recommend them?
Helen Jones says
I used to eat tiger nuts in Chinese food. I bought them at a Chinese supermarket, would whiz them up with garlic and ginger. I’d then fry the paste and throw in the meat and veg, season to taste.
It was lovely.
Sounds delicious. Must look out for these. The sound good and are quite good for you too.
Heidi Schattschneider says
What are they called in Chinese?
Hi Heidi, I’m not sure. One translation website suggested the same word in Chinese but it is also called earth chestnut, earth almond, yellow nut grass, ground almond and rush nut.
andie andrews says
I loved a Spanish horchata da chufa choc flavoured drink when I was a child on hol with my family that was drunk cold from the fridge. I have searched for it here for my children. Thx for info it is excellent. Andie
Bob Cooper says
I used to love eating tiger nuts when I was a boy. Looking like brown wooden currants, they were pretty hard and woody to begin with but were quite juicy and very nutty tasting after a few minutes…they lasted quite a while, and were much more satisfying to chew than chewing gum….I suppose for us kids they were like a dog having a chewy treat.
The other thing that was similar, in a way, was liquorice twigs….real woody chewy things with a true liquorice taste.
I haven’t seen either tiger nuts or liquorice sticks around lately….except that tiger nuts are sold as for use as fishing bait. I don’t think they are okay for people to eat, but I don’t know for sure. Maybe someone will know.
Tiger nuts are definitely worth trying.
I haven’t found them anywhere yet so I still don’t know what they’re like. One day Bob I will try some. Keep forgetting to look for them. Liquorice twigs sound nice and very good for you. Where were you living when you ate these?
Jack Sims - Chief Nut at Tiger Nuts USA says
We are pleased to tell you that you can get the finest Tiger Nuts right here in the US at http://www.tigernutsusa.com and we can also supply bulk quantities for making Horchata.
Thanks, the Nuts at http://www.tigernutsusa.com
Heidi Schattschneider says
I had an allergic reaction after eating tiger nuts. Broke out into hives with in minutes of consuming. I don’t have any known food allergies but have a diagnosed allergy to tree and grass pollens
Hi Heidi, well that is interesting. They must have some cross reaction with pollen but on the other hand, anyone can be allergic to anything, not just the common allergens we all know about. I am trying out some bread at the moment with tiger nut flour so hopefully I won’t react, though i too am allergic to tree and grass pollens – eeek! Thanks for the comment. I guess at least they are fairly easy to avoid. How long did the reaction last?
Hello, I have a grass pollen allergy with many cross reactions to fruit and vegetables, tiger nuts included.
Now that’s interesting. There are a few of you reacting to tiger nuts. I have pollen allergy and nut allergy but seem to be OK with the bread I bought made with tigernut flour. I used to get quite bad mouth and lip swelling from peaches, apples and carrots when raw but cooked they were fine. As I’ve grown older I seem to have grown out of the pollen cross reaction. For me, it’s tree and plants more than grasses I think but who knows. Sometimes I feel like hay fever season never stops and it’s fast approaching now!
Just bought them, they are quiet tasty, but they itch in my mouth. Just found they can cause a cross reaction with grass allergy (if I understood the article correct). Guess we’ll need to try them again in the winter, when the grasses stopped blooming. They are not related to nuts. So unless you are swelling up dangerously from some products, you can always give them a try. (Otherwise you might wanna ask your doctor first.)
Suzanne DuBois says
I went into anaphylactic shock today after eating Tiger Nuts. It took 2 Epi Pens, 2 high dose allergy shots, steroids IV allergy meds and allergy pills to finally make a dent in my symptoms. I was in the ER for 6 hours. I’ve been researching Tiger Nut allergies and there’s not a lot of info out there. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated!
Heidi Schattschneider says
Tigernut was an ingredient in some almond date balls I purchased in the health food store. I only ate 2 and broke out into hives, which lasted over an hour. I contacted the manufacture for the complete ingredient list and can eat all the other ingredients without issue so deduce it must be the Tigernnut.
Susan Stewart says
I had an allergic reaction today to tiger nut today. I don’t have any food allergies at all so it was a big surprise. Swollen throat about 5 minutes after consumption, followed by plugged ears – hard to swallow for about 1 hour afterwards. Drinking cold water helped. It was the only ingredient in Organic Tiger Nut Laddoo (ayurvedic sweet treats) that was new to me so I am confident that it was the tiger nut. I am definitely allergic to grass pollen and maybe some tree pollens. It sounds similar to some of the other cases posted here so perhaps this will help someone to know about my reaction.
Oh Susan, sorry to hear about that. It appears to be nothing to do with nut allergy but clearly, like any food I guess, can be allergenic. I suppose it will be fairly easy to avoid but I’m sorry you had a scary reaction and hope you don’t have another.
Dana Martin says
You can find tigernuts at tigernutusa.com and they aren’t nuts they are tubers
I love them!!
Have you tried the milk? Rather nice I thought.
I too, reacted to tiger nuts last Summer 2018 in Spain. It was the famous Horchata de Chufa (Tiger Nut Milk) that caused it on two occasions, a week apart. I reacted to a couple of sips within a minute, with itchy mouth, throat and ears, Also swollen lips, bumps on the tongue and difficulty breathing. Took three benadryls and improved within an hour. Had a similar reaction to macadamia nuts 2 years ago. Do not react to any other nut. I am also allergic to grasses and tree pollen.
Ruth Holroyd says
That’s scary Diane. I am a little wary of Tiger nuts, as i’m allergic to all other nuts. They aren’t really found in the UK much so not really a worry. Glad you got better but definitely not one for you in the future. Thanks for sharing.
Adella Wright says
Not sure if anyone has the answer to this, but for those who are an a low nickel diet, is there any information out there on the nickel content?
Ruth Holroyd says
Hi Adella. I’ll try to find out