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The Incredible Edible Tigernut

Having touched on the Tigernut previously, I thought it time for a complete review to encompass not only the aspects of its evolutionary roots in the human diet and impressive nutrition—both macro and micro—but also practical applications in our everyday lives. On that note, I have some interesting Tigernut food and drink experiences to share with you.

The Roots of the Root

One thing that always seemed a bit mysterious to me in the general human evolutionary narrative is how, nutritionally, our hominin ancestors were able to evolve to such extremes (ref: expensive tissue hypothesis and Kleiber’s law). Briefly, as the story goes, millions of years ago, our ape ancestors with their small brains and gigantic guts climbed down from the trees where they spent most of their time eating (since leaves aren’t nutritionally dense) and were able to acquire the nutritional density to eventually grow large brains and correspondingly small guts by scavenging stuff left over from predator kills, such as marrow and brain.

But how to get from A to B, without some intermediate step? What if, for example, there was a plant that could deliver this nutritional density, and far from being hit & miss like finding predator leftovers, it was as plentiful as invasive weeds and as easy to harvest as pulling them from soft, moist soil?

Tigernuts (Cyperus esculentus)

Earlier this year, new research was published that stemmed from research on the eating patterns of baboons. In a nutshell, a mystery was solved as to why isotope analysis suggested that “Nutcracker Man” (Paranthropus boisei) consumed a vast amount of grass (C4 plant sources). Why it was mysterious is that here, you have a larger-brained, smaller-gutted hominin eating essentially a diet similar to the leaves in trees; so where was the nutritional density coming from to grow and support this big brain with its important energy requirements? It wasn’t the grass, but the tubers in the soil, the roots.

Ancient human ancestor ‘Nutcracker Man’ lived on tiger nuts

Previous research using stable isotope analyses suggests the diet of these homimins was largely comprised of C4 plants like grasses and sedges. However, a debate has raged over whether such high-fibre foods could ever be of sufficiently high quality for a large-brained, medium-sized hominin.

Dr Macho’s study finds that baboons today eat large quantities of C4 tiger nuts, and this food would have contained sufficiently high amounts of minerals and vitamins, and the fatty acids that would have been particularly important for the hominin brain. […]

Tiger nuts, which are rich in starches, are highly abrasive in an unheated state. Dr Macho suggests that hominins’ teeth suffered abrasion and wear and tear due to these starches. The study finds that baboons’ teeth have similar marks, giving clues about their pattern of consumption. In order to digest the tiger nuts and allow the enzymes in the saliva to break down the starches, the hominins would need to chew the tiger nuts for a long time. All this chewing put considerable strain on the jaws and teeth, which explains why ‘Nutcracker Man’ had such a distinctive cranial anatomy.

I suspect that the abrasion observed on teeth is because 1) it was a staple food being consumed in great quantity, and 2) likely not always washed or rinsed and so abrasion was partially from soil (probiotics). Plus, if you soak the unpeeled ones as I do, for 24-48 hours, they take on a soft but snappy water chestnut texture.

But here’s the real evolutionary kicker for me, in addition to the nutrition, which we’ll cover next.

The Oxford study calculates a hominin could extract sufficient nutrients from a tiger nut-based diet – i.e. around 10,000 kilojoules or 2,000 calories a day, or 80% of their required daily calorie intake – in two and half to three hours. This fits comfortably within the foraging time of five to six hours per day typical for a large-bodied primate. [emphasis added]

Consider that an average male gorilla eats 50 pounds of leafy and stalky plant matter per day. Scale that to your own weight, then figure how much time it would take you. So, the question arrises to me:

Are H. sapiens big brains and small guts an evolutionary product of high density nutrition, or free time?

What happens when you have more discretionary time? Or, perhaps more poignantly: what happens when members of a society have more free time? You could describe lots of things but creativity rather encompasses all, and is not the human story one of creativity? Freed from having to literally spend all waking hours pursuing and eating food, we’re unique; the consequences are manifest all around us.

So, in a primitive hominin setting, we’re talking about free time that changes social structures: ushers in collaboration in foraging, tool development and use, and enhances various division of labor dynamics including the trapping and hunting of animals—all kinds of those things that contribute to a growth in intelligence and brain size. Don’t forget that we’re talking time scales in the millions of years.

So, I don’t think it’s any longer an easy answer of: we scavenged predator kills for marrow and brain, and grew big brains. I think it means that starch is also an inexorable piece of that evolution. It’s perhaps not the only answer, but it’s decidedly a big piece of the puzzle for anyone looking honestly.

The Root Nutrition

The most glaring aspect of the overall nutrition is its macronutrient partitioning. First, let’s look at mammalian breast milk in general, a rule of thumb I always think is smart to keep in mind:

  • 50 – 60% fat
  • 25 – 40% carbohydrate
  • 5 – 20% protein

Tigernuts:

  • 51% fat
  • 42% carbohydrate
  • 7% protein

Human breast milk:

  • 51% fat
  • 39% carbohydrate
  • 6% protein

Perhaps these Tigernuts were misnamed, and ought to have been called Tigermilk?

Moving onto micronutrients, all the detailed charts are in this previous post, but in summary:

  • Of 18 core micronutrients, Tigernuts (a tuber) outweigh potatoes in 16 of them (Vit C the only thing potatoes have more of) and in one, neither have any (B12).
  • Compared with red meat, Tigernuts outweigh beef in 10 of them, are less in 5, and in 2 (Vitamin A, B12) have none. Vitamin D is listed as “trace” in beef, but that’s as good as none.

So, Tigernuts are more nutritious—in 56% of nutrients—over red meat (beef liver is a different story—Tigernuts being more nutritious in only 22% of nutrients). I remind you, folks: we’re talking about a plant here, a starchy tuber: more nutritious in vitamins and minerals than red meat generally. And, did I mention? It’s a starchy tuber. Moreover, it’s more reliable and far easier to harvest than just about anything you can hunt or fish.

The Root of Eating and Drinking These Tubers

I’ve recently come across a new purveyor of Tigernuts. They graciously sponsored this post and sent me their products.

Screen Shot 2014 09 23 at 11 24 49 AM
 

Currently, the available product lineup is Organic Raw Tigernuts, Organic Tigernut FlourOrganic Cold-pressed Tigernut Oil, and Horchata de chuffa, made from Tigernuts. In terms of the Horchata, it’s currently only available in NYC area Whole Foods. I got all the flavors, via a shipped cold pack; and in response to my admonishment after tasting, they are working on making that option available to anyone, via their own website.

Let me tell you: both Beatrice and I loved the Unsweetened the best, more than Original that’s lightly sweetened (with non-gmo organic California medjool dates). We also loved the Chai. But my personal favorite was the Coffee. Perhaps the most delicious and lite iced coffee I’ve ever had.

One issue in terms of a marketable horchata product is that there’s sediment. This is resistant starch—behaves exactly the same way as if you’d dumped a tsp of potato starch into it. Once it settles, it settles pretty firmly. The company is weighing where to go with that: “clean” it up for the consumer, or tout the benefits. I’ve advised them to get rooted now, as it is, then later make a sterile version for the other 90% of pampered America.

In terms of RS content, here’s the go-to source for you geeks. Basically, an RS profile similar to maize, perhaps about half of raw potato by weight. However, this is a good thing because as a raw food, more readily digestible starch for energy is better. Or, to put it another way, you’ll get a lot more resistant starch from raw tigernuts than you will from anything else that’s cooked and cooled I’m aware of.

Or, you could make your own. If you get hooked, they’ll get you a 27.5 lbs Bag. You can really knock yourself out.

horchata
Horchata de chufa

I followed a standard recipe (Google it, pick your fav) but with a serious twist. I added no nothing. I just did the Tigernuts and water (no sugar). I had an interesting result.

Previously, I had experimented with soaking them. I don’t want peeled ones, but I’m interested in ways where you can soak the whole ones and get various results. So, I did. Up to 48 hours. It was at the end of that last soak where I serendipitously decided to make horchata. Here’s the deal: recipes call for 8-12 hour soakings. This was two days. Folks who soak legumes are well familiar with the bubbles that form on the surface of the water after a day or so. Fermentation. Those are bacteria farts.

I had tons of this with these Tigernuts. Bubbles all over.

What did I get, once I discarded the soaking liquid, rinsed, ground, added fresh water and strained? Something resembling kefir. And it got better with age. When I finished the batch, I tasted and noted not too much sweet, but a slight hint of sour. I put that bottle in the fridge for a whole day before touching it and when I popped it, it popped big. Fermentation. It continued to pop each time I opened it. Carbon dioxide, no doubt.

…I once made a batch of kefir that was so powerful, it self carbonated and had a slight fiz to it. Now I’m wondering if I can naturally carbonate Tigernuts by perhaps using the soaking liquid, perhaps adding just a bit of sugar. Suggestions welcome.

That said, the next batch I do will be with the standard 12-hr soak, just to see if anyone can make it in the standard way, get the standard result.

…Now, folks who’ve followed me for a long time know my adversity to nut flours. I used them early on in my paleo journey, but then realized that they are very high in omega-6 fats, a polyunsaturated fat that oxidizes easily—not to mention the balance that ought exist between pro-infalamatory n-6, and anti-inflammatory n-3. Nuts, except for macadamia (ref: Fat Bread), are extraordinarily high in n-6, while being low in n-3. Nuts ought be eaten whole, in my view, not concentrated into flours.

Except for Tigetnut flour! It’s actually one of the first documented flours. Egyptians used it to make bread.

@OurTrueRoots has just released their Organic Tigernut Flour to market. I got a preview. Given all the “paleo” brownies in the universe, I decided to make a somewhat closer version. I’ve never baked a brownie or cookie in my 53 years, so, I just Googled a standard, highly rated brownie recipe and did 3 things different:

  • Half the sugar called for
  • Substitute all wheat flour for Tigernut flour
  • Chopped up half a bar of 80% cacao dark chocolate and added to the batter
brownie
Zero difference

They were still too sweet for me, making my next excursion a sugar-free one. Tigernuts are naturally quite sweet, so this should really focus the minds of some of you “paleo” bakers out there. That said, they were…brownies. I seriously doubt there would be a statistical significance in a blind-taste-test against standard, wheat flour brownies.

I will make a prediction: within a year, nobody will be using nut flours for baked “paleo Treats.” They’ll be using this—a tuber flour and I’ll be a little less outraged. Incidentally, the flour is raw. The tigernuts are sun dried and ground up. That’s it.

There’s one additional product that might interest you, Organic Cold-pressed Tigernut Oil.

photo
Tigernut Oil

To my mind, this is going to be their biggest hit, after the flour. The fat profile is roughly similar to olive oil, without the Italian Mafia fraud. Everyone ought resolve to never purchase another ounce of Italian “olive” oil. I don’t. I buy Greek (and it’s superior on every level anyway).

But this is quite a different thing, not better or worse. I only cook with animal fats, coconut and palm oils, owing to the paucity of PUFA. Olive and now, Tigernut oil, get used raw.

And on that score, this one really makes the grade. I have tested it with a little vinegar on lettuce, and a water cracker dipped in it. High marks on both. It’s difficult to say much more, simply because oil is such an ubiquitous commodity. I’d simply say that you’ll want to be having this in your kitchen tool bag, along with the Greek EVOO.

You can see more cooking applications here, with pictures: breaded liver, trout, and an emulsification with the oil.

This post had been brought to you by Our True Roots. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I got into writing it.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

59 Comments

  1. Rob Turner on September 23, 2014 at 12:25

    So would you call tigernuts a super food ;).

  2. Brian Beaven on September 23, 2014 at 14:37

    Thanks for bringing the formation on Tiger nuts. I’m looking into getting some chufa seeds this spring for my garden.

    • tatertot on September 23, 2014 at 18:41

      I planted two different kinds of tiger nuts in my garden this year. I don’t live exactly in the heart of tiger nut country, but they grew good and I got lots of nuts. Check out my blog on Friday, I took tons of pictures of them growing and have some growing tips.

      The raw nuts are unbelievable, crunchy, sweet, starchy. I can see why they became popular. A handful of raw, fresh nuts is a very substantial meal.

      I see tigernutsusa.com has tiger nut flour now, too. What an amazing tuber!

      Can’t wait to try the horchata drinks.



    • Richard Nikoley on September 23, 2014 at 22:41

      Can’t wait for the pics.

      Maybe you should uproot some and leave them sitting around to attract moose.



    • elmo on September 24, 2014 at 21:10

      may i ask what kind of yield per sq ft?
      worthwhile? easy to clean? etc.

      i wanted to grow chinese artichoke or crosnes a few years ago but the general consensus seemed to be that they were more trouble than worth because of difficulty to clean them and light yields.



  3. Pd on September 23, 2014 at 16:16

    Reading this blog reminds me of what it was like as a kid to discover awesome underground bands.

    At first, playing the music to others more often than not resulted in rejection and derision. Following a period of time, going to friends houses, the music would pop up randomly on their turntables with comments like “hey, have you heard this awesome band”. Then eventually, the band would break into mainstream.

    In Australia, paleo and low carb etc are all the rage. Paleo foods, paleo cafes with dairy free and gluten free menus, paleo chefs sprouting the benefits of ketosis etc.

    I look fwd to watching FTA impact the movement in Australia in about 3-4 years time.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 23, 2014 at 16:41

      Pd:

      High fuckin’ salute, mate.

      Nothing gives me a hardon quite like a good dot connecting (no homo).



  4. Will on September 23, 2014 at 19:12

    Tiger nuts could be one answer to the legend of manna “According to the book of Exodus, manna is white, like Coriander seed.”

  5. Mart on September 24, 2014 at 10:43

    Anyone know what the resistant starch content is – and thus – how much you can eat to achieve/replace that 4 Tbsp of potato starch level?

    • Mart on September 24, 2014 at 15:33

      A search for “resistant” in that pdf showed zero results. I’m not able to decipher most of what is in that paper, and none of the charts seem to show anything resembling an RS measurement



    • Mart on September 24, 2014 at 22:30

      thanks for everything you do here – but let’s be honest – do you know yourself? It’s a simple question, and the fundamental question everyone has about this source of RS. How much do we have to consume tiger nuts for an optima; RS intake? We are not about to dig these things out of the back yard and eat them with all the dirt on them. We have to buy them from sources who we have to trust



    • Richard Nikoley on September 24, 2014 at 13:19

      The most known currently is in that paper linked.



    • Richard Nikoley on September 24, 2014 at 16:16

      Hey man, I’m not your school teacher. Learn the distinction between amylose and amylopectin.

      But, I am working in the background on testing, for this and other things, and so is Tim.



    • Richard Nikoley on September 25, 2014 at 08:34

      The products are generally coming from the Valencia region of Spain. Look into it if it’s a concern.

      Or grow them yourself. A single nut can give you a huge harvest.

      I just put the info and options out there. I don’t presume to tell you what to do.



    • Duck Dodgers on September 25, 2014 at 13:45

      The variety of tiger nuts (or chufas) grown for sale, from Valencia, are not invasive—though they are still technically classified as such, erroneously, by the USDA. They are classified under the variety: sativas. “Sativas” refers to “sown” or “cultivated”. The sativas variety was bred by the Egyptians to have the shoots grow down, and rarely flower, so they were manageable in fields.

      The weedy varieties are terribly invasive. A single tuber can overgrow an entire field in 3 years. Those weedy varieties grow shoots that spread out to the sides, and they multiply like tribbles.

      So, you can actually plant a few of the dry chufas, or dried tiger nuts, from Valencia and you’ll get bunches of tiger nuts that aren’t invasive. So, order a bag of the tiger nuts and plant a few of them! Just don’t tell the USDA. 🙂



    • Duck Dodgers on September 25, 2014 at 13:47

      By the way, if you know anyone who works at the USDA, forward them this paper and help make tiger nuts legal to grow in the US:

      Chufa (Cyperus esculentus, Cyperaceae): A Weedy Cultivar or a Cultivated Weed? (Free Registration)

      The paper explains why the sativas variety are perfectly fine to grow and should be made legal by the USDA.



    • Bret on September 27, 2014 at 09:10

      Here ya go, Mart. To get you started:

      Starch consists of two types of molecules:
      (a) Amylose, a form of resistant starch, and,
      (b) Amylopectin, a soluble (and thus more digestible) substance.

      At the bottom of Table II on page 383 of the paper under discussion is a ratio of amylose to amylopectin. You can see how TN starch stacks up against maize starch and potato starch. On the surface, potato starch looks better, if all you’re looking for is RS content. But don’t forget or discount the importance of micronutrient content and variety in general. RS does not work its magic in a vacuum, just like with anything in life.

      How many tiger nuts would replace the RS in 4 tbsp of potato starch is not obvious in the paper. You’ll have to do some math and conversions to figure that out. We’re not going to do 100% of the homework for you.

      At the risk of patronizing, your comments give me the impression that you’re trying to “grab and go” with quick answers, expecting Richard to spoon-feed you information on demand. On the contrary I think you’ll find that looking deep into the nuts and bolts will give you a better understanding of how to apply this stuff, as well as greater satisfaction altogether. Who knows, you might even discover something important that others have missed.

      That, and maybe refine your search strategy. Yes, searching resistant turns up no results, but RS is also referred to commonly by its resistance to digestion or as a starch that resists digestion. Searching resist (which will also catch resistant & resistance) takes you on the second result to a spot on p. 384 that reads, “…the amylose content significantly affects many fundamental properties like…the degree of resistance of starch granules to digestion by amylases.”

      In other words, put in a bit more effort next time. 🙂



    • elmo on September 27, 2014 at 09:45

      they sell chufa seed in 25 lb bags on Amazon for turkey plots etc but i’m guessing these are the invasive kind. still nobody is stopping them so far.



    • Duck Dodgers on September 27, 2014 at 10:31

      If they were trying to sell a lot of tiger nuts, it wouldn’t be in their best interest to sell the invasive/weedy kind—since literally one tiger nut could multiply to fill in an entire field in 3 years.[1] 25 pounds of invasive tubers would be a nightmare. So, the fact that they are selling 25 pounds of tiger nuts leads me to believe it is the cultivated kind, if they want repeat customers. An easy way to tell is the flowers. The cultivated ones from Spain/Egypt rarely flower, prefer warm temperatures. Only the invasive/weedy ones are truly winter-proof.

      The National Wild Turkey Federation has a page discussing which varieties of C. esculentus tend to be sourced for turkeys:

      As you can see, they tend to source from Spain when they can. I think the weed laws have more to do with lands that are used for harvesting/selling crops. But, I could be wrong (don’t have the time to fully investigate that right now).



    • pzo on September 28, 2014 at 17:36

      Sounds like a cash crop here in Florida. Especially with Greening Disease decimating our citrus orchards.

      Or Roundup the St. Augustine and plant Tiger Nuts. Hmmm….surely there’s a better name so that male tigers don’t squirm of file a gender lawsuit.



    • Hemming on September 23, 2015 at 01:37

      Hi Bret,

      Just to make sure I understand it correctly. Of the 30-30g of fiber, 11.5g of that would be amylose (RS), right?

      Best,

      Hemming



  6. FtoM on September 23, 2014 at 23:15

    Hello Richard,

    whats your opinion on tigernuts being hyperaccumulators of heavy metals, like Cadmium?

    Apparently tigernuts are sometimes used to clear up heavy metal containing land.

    Btw: I like tigernuts very much, but this is maybe something to consider.

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01904168109362832

    Bye,
    FtoM

    • Richard Nikoley on September 24, 2014 at 08:05

      Hi FtoM:

      I’m sure there’s a lot of root storage organs that do that to various extent. I’d say that merely means that you want to get them from places where the land isn’t either naturally or man-made contaminated with heavy metals.



  7. FrenchFry on September 24, 2014 at 01:30

    TN are great. I bought a few kg some time ago and it is something you can’t overeat and yet satiates you rally nicely. It is true that you have to chew for quite some time 😀

    I will try to grind some and see what I can do with the resulting meal.

    • Kat on September 25, 2014 at 09:30

      What was your source?



    • Richard Nikoley on September 25, 2014 at 09:54

      River of Styx, I think.



  8. Namely on September 24, 2014 at 04:26

    I’m really curious to try the plain whole tiger nuts myself, but I could imagine that the tigernut flour could catch-on if the availability of it becomes adequate and it gets some mainstream coverage — the gluten-free bandwagon sure is getting less and less esoteric. I rarely bake things, but I had my hand at making some good old chocolate brownies just last week. There seems to be a lot of ‘paleo’-esque baking recipes out there that use sweet potatoes. But I thought I’d instead try and use chestnuts.

    Steamed the chestnuts till they were soft and, while they were still warm, mixed them with the chocolate to melt it. I just tossed all the ingredients into a vitamix and blended for a couple seconds. Pretty simple stuff. Almost too easy. Threw in a few medjool dates, too, that I had just bought for sweetness (they looked super juicy since apparently date season just started).

    Nice thing about brownies is you don’t need to do anything elaborate like whip egg whites or have baking soda on hand. And since they’re usually meant to be quite dense — not fluffy like a cake — I think the small amount of moisture that you get from using chestnuts and juicy dates instead of flour and sugar, respectively, actually works out well.

    Oh, also added a shot of coffee to my batch for flavor.

    It was par excellence.

  9. McSack on September 24, 2014 at 07:15

    Hi Richard,

    I’m definitely a fan of the tigernuts. I keep a big bag of them in my desk at work, so I may have to check out the flour and oil too. But I was wondering about your position on the nut flours. Recently Mark Sisson had an interesting article on the Omega 3/6 balance and how the high Omega 6 levels may not matter with nuts as they have natural protection against oxidation. I like to use a wide variety of flours including starch and nut based ones. Like anything I try to keep it all in moderation. Anyway, here’s a link to the article if you haven’t seen it already: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/why-the-omega-3omega-6-ratio-may-not-matter-after-all/#axzz3EF50o3Bj

    • Richard Nikoley on September 24, 2014 at 08:17

      My chief complaint with nuts is not eating nuts (I do, in moderation and not all the time). It’s more the concentrated versions used in baking. It can be quite a lot.

      But, probably no biggie. The great thing about the TN flour is it’s pretty complete nutrition, decent fat profile, and sweet. So perfect baking application, I think.



  10. Jon+McRae on September 24, 2014 at 11:06

    Richard:

    Looking on Amazon looks like there is a peeled version of the Tigernut, was this the first product style that you encountered? If so is it ok to go with the peeled ones or are the unpeeled a beeter source of whole fiber, since you would eat the outer covering?

    • Richard Nikoley on September 24, 2014 at 13:22

      Yea, the peeled are a different company. I prefer the regular ones, soaked about 2 days. The peeled ones are like raisins to me.



  11. Chufa tubers | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page on September 24, 2014 at 11:10

    […] cool! FTA just wrote about Tiger Nuts and I will be doing a blog on Friday with pictures and growing tips to grow your own! I love them. […]

  12. Roddy on September 24, 2014 at 17:58

    Thanks for the write up. I apologize if I missed this, but I’m wondering where you’re getting the information on the fatty acid content. I’ve only been able to locate papers mentioning the percentage of total fat, but not the types.

    • Roddy on September 24, 2014 at 18:00

      oops, found it, please disregard the last comment



  13. AnarkhosRivaz on September 24, 2014 at 21:29

    Just purchased some Tigernuts via your Amazon link Richard. Very interested in giving these a shot. Should I dig, I may have to stock up and use these as my primary go to snack.

    Off topic question: If I access Amazon through your link, will you still get a slice of the proceeds if I then access my wishlist and purchase goods?

    • Richard Nikoley on September 25, 2014 at 09:34

      Amazon is very cool about this. Hit the link if you like, shop. Even if you put stuff in your cart, I still get spiffed so long as you complete purchase within 90 days.



  14. steph schock on September 25, 2014 at 04:47

    mind sharing your recipe for breaded liver using tiger nut flour? unless maybe I missed it somewhere on your site…

    • Richard Nikoley on September 25, 2014 at 09:22

      Sure, dredge liver slices in Tigernut flour, immediately drop in the wok with oils of choose. Flip em serendipitously until done.



  15. Josef on September 25, 2014 at 06:42

    Has someone any information regarding the fibre “types” of raw coconut ?I don´t mean soluble vs. insoluble but rather it´s content in different kind of soluble fibres …
    answer much appreciated

  16. pzo on September 28, 2014 at 17:28

    At $100/liter, per your link, I don’t think the Olive Oil Mafia is quaking yet. It’s like Dave Asprey’s diet recommendations. Quite a few people post comments on the order of, “This is a rich man’s diet.” With my income, I’m grateful for CAFO meats.

    Off topic, Richard, I want to tell you that although I am probably 180 degrees from you in political and many social issues, I always enjoy and appreciate your intelligence and integrity. I guess that’s why I keep coming back!

    Carry on!

  17. martin on September 29, 2014 at 08:44

    You convinced us to revisit the world of chufa, been on the milk before, – years ago.

    Bought a bag of flour yesterday and made biscuits with egg. They are nice. Today I made some fish finger “biscuit-burgers”: mashed, grilled fish filet, eggs, fresh, grated beetroot, turmeric and ginger, cinnamon and salt. Half an hour or so in the oven. Excellent little caky-fishy things. Feels good to eat, so far so good! 🙂

  18. Scott Miller on October 7, 2014 at 09:28

    o Richard, I ordered the unpeeled Tiger Nuts and frankly I found them too bland and chewy to enjoy as a snack. I don’t like sweet foods, so that wasn’t the issue. They were just too chewy and took forever to chew up before swallowing.

    o I have read a lot (and recently heard a chef speaking about this on NPR), that most oils from Europe are below standard. Many are cut with soy. But the other issue is that most of Europe has strict standards (and random testing at supermarkets) on EVOO, so the good stuff is ALWAYS reserved for European markets. In the USA no random tests are made, so Europe always sends us their second-rate oil. (A few exceptions exist, but they are rare.)

    The chef recommended that we in the USA buy Californian EVOO, which he said is uncut, and uses top-of-the-line oils, since none is exported. The chef specifically recommend California olive Ranch as a source he’s used over the years. I immediately ordered a few bottles, but have yet to try them (I have been using EVOO from Chile, that I bought in a large group purchase that the group tested for quality and polyphenol content, and I’m just about out of those bottles).

    • Richard Nikoley on October 7, 2014 at 10:47

      Hey Scott:

      Soak your unpeeled tigernuts 48 hours. Try that. That’s where I like them raw, which I imagine might be similar to pulling them out of moist ground, rinsing and eating. If that doesn’t work for you, give a batch or Horchata a try.

      Totally with you on OO. I have CA Olive Ranch in my cupboard right now. And fortunately, I know a number of places now near my cabin where I can go pick CA OO up local.

      That said, the Greeks do great OO. Did you ever see this?

      https://freetheanimal.com/2011/01/amazing-fat-that-does-not-come-from-an-animal-euphoria-olive-oil-from-peloponnesus.html

      This is very solid OO, and guess what? Fred Hahn’s wife is the importer. It was total serendipity. I had zero idea when I wrote that post.



    • Scott+Miller on October 7, 2014 at 11:09

      That OO looks like a winner. I’ll give it a try.

      I go through a lot of OO, at least 2-3 tablespoons daily. And I like it bold and peppery, because it indicates a highly polyphenol level. Somehow, knowing a food is good for you helps certain flavors taste better that you might not otherwise enjoy.



  19. Scott Stevens on October 23, 2014 at 16:28

    The crucial difference is that human breast milk is mostly saturated fat (lauric acid) whereas the fat in tigernuts is polyunsaturated. The type of fat we should be avoiding. Not to mention it is extremely dense in carbohydrate and heavy metals. Not so great. Next.

    • Duck Dodgers on October 24, 2014 at 17:55

      “The crucial difference is that human breast milk is mostly saturated fat (lauric acid) whereas the fat in tigernuts is polyunsaturated.”

      Not quite. Tiger nuts are mostly monounsaturated—and have slightly less PUFA than olive oil or lard. It makes a fine olive oil substitute.

      From: Tiger Nut (Cyperus esculentus) Commercialization: Health Aspects, Composition, Properties, and Food Applications (2012)

      Tiger nut oil: 17.5% SFA, 72.9% MUFA, 9.3% PUFA
      Olive oil: 15.3% SFA, 73.8% MUFA, 10.0% PUFA

      “Not to mention it is extremely dense in carbohydrate”

      Well, that’s the best part. There’s no need to be a carbophobe. Tiger nuts are safe for diabetics, due to the high arginine content, which liberates insulin.

      “and heavy metals”

      That would only be true if your tiger nuts were planted in a highly polluted soil, since they are quite good at absorbing minerals (one of their benefits). And that’s true of any high-mineral plant. Tiger nuts (Chufas) typically come from Valencia, Spain—where they have very high standards for their tiger nut crop. If the Valencian tiger nuts were contaminated, it would be a very big deal there and I suspect it would be fairly well known.



    • Richard Nikoley on October 24, 2014 at 15:31

      The fat profile is similar to olive oil.

      Macro profile is nearly identical to mother’s milk, so if they’re “extremely dense in carbohydrate,” then so is the thing we all grew up on initially.

      Heavy metals? References, please.

      Here’s the latest post on them.

      https://freetheanimal.com/2014/10/evolution-gatherer-gatherers.html



  20. Nutty Professor on October 25, 2014 at 10:44

    “Perhaps these Tigernuts were misnamed, and ought to have been called Tigermilk?”
    Or, indeed, Boobnuts.

    Would be interested to know how resistant the fats in tigernut flour are to baking. Also an open-minded take on the heavy metal issue. Maybe it will be similar to consuming rice; being careful to choose clean sources, and perhaps eating peeled.

    After reading the comments here I have tried roasting them after soaking, and it made them rather tough. Probably similar to unsoaked. Wish I had grown up chewing them, what a jawline I would have.

    Another thing I noticed initially was eating tigernuts made me feel transiently depressed. The only clue I could find was that phytosterols in tigernuts are largely beta-sitosterol. Beta-sitosterol supplements have the same effect on me. Perhaps, if they were getting enough, some effect like the 5-AR inhibition made our ancestors more chilled out and creative.

    • Duck Dodgers on October 25, 2014 at 12:46

      “Maybe it will be similar to consuming rice; being careful to choose clean sources, and perhaps eating peeled”

      Correct. But, I believe 99% of the tiger nuts sold in the world come just 16 villages around Valencia, Spain. Here’s a video of the Spanish history/process.

      http://youtu.be/JGDweQq6tK8

      The difference with rice is that the Southern US rice fields used to cotton fields, and the cotton fields were treated with billions of tons of arsenic-based pesticides, right up until the 1980s. Then they planted rice and the rice started soaking up all the arsenic.

      But I’m not aware of a pollution issue in the 16 villages around Valencia, that grow tiger nuts. They have their own tiger nut agriculture council. I highly doubt their fields are polluted like Southern US rice fields are.

      Basically, either grow your own tiger nuts (even Tim was able to grow them successfully in Alaska) or just buy them from Valencia (look for the label) and check up on the Valencian quality assurances if you’re worried about it.

      Also, many people don’t realize that even the soil around their homes can be contaminated with lead and other heavy metals. It usually came from paint chips when lead paint on former structures. Most states have a University cooperative extension that provides inexpensive soil testing.



  21. Duck Dodgers on October 25, 2014 at 12:55

    I guess they are officially “Paleo” now…whatever that means.

    http://paleomagonline.com/review-tiger-nuts/

  22. Scott+Stevens on October 28, 2014 at 05:08

    So what percentage of the starch in raw tiger nuts is resistant starch? I prefer them raw anyway.

  23. Lindsay on November 30, 2014 at 06:23

    i love this flour! it’s been great for baking and a prebiotic for sure!

  24. Deb on January 4, 2015 at 15:54

    Hi,

    Thanks very much for such an informative website. You said that a batch of soaking tigernuts started to ferment like kefir. Was the taste similar to kefir?

    • Richard Nikoley on January 4, 2015 at 16:06

      yes, 2 day soak of the nuts. Make your horchata and in a day or so, it tastes nice and sour like kefir. 2 times I’ve done it so far.



    • Colombo on August 25, 2015 at 08:08

      But is that “wild fermentation” or did you add some kefir grains?



  25. Dan on June 25, 2015 at 09:59

    in searching for a source for tigernuts I have found another benefit… apparently they make great carp bait http://www.carptigernuts.com/

    Was never partial to carp myself.. or fishing for that matter. But hey maybe we are jumpstarting the next step in evolution to nutcracker fish.

  26. Mary on June 24, 2016 at 13:53

    Hi,
    I want to make baked goods with tigernut flour.
    Does baking the tigernut flour make it no longer starch resistant?
    That would defeat the benefit of the tiger nuts.
    NO ONE seems to address this anywhere online.
    (If you cook potatoe starch it is no longer heat resistant.)
    Can you please help me with my questions,
    Much Appreciation,
    Mary

    • Cher on June 14, 2017 at 13:04

      I would assume it wouldn’t retain those benefits being cooked but it would still likely be a good gluten free and lower glycemic option with a better healthy fat than say nut flours, etc., right?



  27. Veronique on November 18, 2016 at 02:09

    Hi
    thanks for this article it’s highly educating.
    I have been making tiger nut milk for a while and it’s really good.
    my challenge now is preservation. Is there a natural preservative that can give it a longer shelf live without having to put it in a refrigerator and without altering the taste

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