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3Jan

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 knows 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.

To use the tiger nuts, which have a slightly sweet, nutty flavour and are quite hard, you need to soak then 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 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.

Horchata Spanish milky drink made with Tiger nuts - available from Plamil

Horchata Spanish milky drink made with Tiger nuts

You can buy Organic Horchata from Plamil.

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.

Each 500ml bottle makes a total of of 2.5 litres of drink when diluted with water.

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? Or had you never even heard of them before like me? No doctor has ever 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?

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?

  

Ruth

An allergy and health writer and freelance copywriter, Ruth is passionate about helping those with allergies and food intolerances take control, embrace their condition, and learn to live with and love who they are. It can be very lonely finding you have allergies and discovering what helps you can be a life long journey. What works for one person won't work for another, so after trying nearly every allergy treatment under the sun and finding hours of research necessary to keep abreast of what's going on, Ruth started writing her blog, What Allergy? in April 2009. Ruth has life threatening allergies herself to all nuts, all diary, tomatoes and celery and knows first-hand what it's like to have an anaphylactic attack. Voted in the Top 5 UK allergy blogs by Cision UK in 2011, What Allergy is packed full of interesting articles, hints and tips and product reviews which are a must read for anyone with allergies, food intolerances or sensitivities, asthma and eczema. From subjects such as "What is celery allergy?" to "Surviving a holiday abroad with allergies", it's packed with useful and interesting information. You can register free for a weekly newsletter by visiting her website http://whatallergy.com/ and also keep in touch by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

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