First, A Riddle:
When is a Nut, not a Nut?
When it’s a Tiger!
Confused? Me too, until I came across it at my latest re-stock shopping expedition, and then followed my rabbit-hole research. This product, which I’d often overlooked due to the fact that (my bad) I thought “Huh, another nut, bet it’s just like all the rest”.
Well, I’ve got GREAT news. It’s not.
It’s Not Even A Nut!
Did you know that Tiger Nuts are NOT actually nuts? (nor do they have anything to do with Tigers!)
Neither did I, until I started researching alternatives to add to my tasty Vegan salads, to give to nut allergy sufferers.
Tiger Nuts aren’t nuts, they’re part of the tuber vegetable family.
Where Do They Come From?
Their name comes from their striped coating and they are also known as Yellow Nutsedge, Chufa or Earth Almond. They have a sweet, nutty flavour and they can be roasted, dried or baked.
This small root vegetable is much like a Potato or an Artichoke and are full of goodness. They are deliciously sweet and creamy and are rich in essential fatty acids and minerals such as calcium and potassium and are bursting with Vitamin E.
Peeled Tiger Nuts are dried and have had their outer coating removed leaving the intense sweet tasting layer packed full of goodness! Unlike conventional Tiger Nuts, Organic Tiger Nuts (which I will be using) tend to be smaller and as they have not been cleaned using chemicals, they can sometimes have an earthy flavour.
Horchata – A Soothing Milky Drink
Tiger Nuts are grown around the world in many hot countries; however, they are extremely popular in Spain, as they are used to make a milk-like drink called Horchata, from Valencia. Horchata, is creamy, with a hint of sweetness and is enjoyed over ice. Here’s a recipe for Horchata from The Tiger Nut Company, in case you would like to try it yourself.
In Mexico, they prefer their Horchata hot, with cinnamon and vanilla (this is a lovely alternative to hot chocolate).
The Ancient Egyptians
Tiger Nuts grow beside The River Nile and have been enjoyed as a milky drink since 4000 BC. The ancient Egyptians were the first to cultivate Tiger Nuts. They roasted them, served them with honey and boiled them in beer.
Tiger Nuts have been found in the stomachs of mummies and the ancient Egyptians even went as far as engraving them on their tombs.
Tiger Nuts are allergen and, of course, nut free. This means that they are completely safe for anyone who has a nut allergy, whilst maintaining similar nutrients and benefits from the nut family. Tiger Nut milk is also a great plant-based alternative for anyone with a dairy intolerance.
Three Interesting Facts
They are on track to become a new form of biofuel – an awesome renewable energy resource.
Tiger Nuts are often used as fishing bait.
In some parts of the world, the Tiger Nut plant is treated as a weed because it’s so good at surviving.
Tiger Nut Milk
You may have noticed Tiger Nut Milk drinks popping up along the plant-based aisle of the supermarket. Rude Health has a distinctive cerise pink carton you can’t miss it. The beauty of the Rude Health one is that it is gluten free, organic and has NO added sugar.
I bought some to try and it tastes a bit like the milk left in the bowl after you’ve eaten your cereal… It’s nice, naturally sweet and much MUCH better for you than some of the other milks; especially if you have a nut allergy or are still drinking Oat Milk (which isn’t always gluten free).
It’s a shame that people don’t realise that this “Nut” is not actually a Nut and is COMPLETELY safe for nut allergy sufferers (although if they are processed in a factory where other nuts are also present, this may not be the case, so please always read the labels thoroughly).
New Recipes From Juicy Lucy’s Kitchen
Look out for my Allergen-free Vegan recipes coming soon on my Food Delivery page on www.juicylucyskitchen.com