In the 1950s and 1960s tiger nuts were a popular treat for children, who would buy them by the quarter from the local sweet shop.
Now tiger nuts are making a comeback – as a so-called superfood.
Served raw or ground into flour for baking, they are not actually nuts, but tubers of a grass-like plant called the yellow nutsedge.
High in iron, potassium, magnesium and Vitamins C and E, they taste sweet, with a hint of coconut, and have a chewy texture.
Jemma Brett, spokesman for Navi Organics, said: ‘We’ve been selling tigernuts for about a year now, and are definitely noticing more interest recently, and our sales are increasing.
‘We consider them a superfood, especially with their nutrient profile almost mirroring that of human breast milk, and the fact that they are gluten-free and nut-free makes them a wonderful alternative and healthy choice.’
Tigernuts are also said to act as a mild appetite suppressant because they contain resistant starch, a type of starch which resists digestion.
This helps keep us feeling fuller for longer, and also reduces the amount of calories we absorb from the food.
‘Resistant starch is also a prebiotic, which helps our bodies to naturally develop probiotic (friendly) bacteria ensuring a strong immune system,’ said Ludovica Vigliardi Paravia, spokesman for Organic Gemini, which will launch tigernuts in the UK this September after their success in the U.S.
‘The flour can be used in most baking and smoothie recipes, adding a sweet and nutty flavour, and is gluten-free, nut-free and dairy-free. You can use it for cookies, brownies, cakes – even pizza dough.’
Tigernuts can rightly be regarded as the world’s first superfood, as they were what our ancient ancestors’ used to eat, in Africa.
In fact, they made up 80 per cent of the diet of ‘Nutcracker Man’, who lived two million years ago, according to research published by Oxford University.
And their popularity today is being fuelled by followers of the fashionable Paleo, or caveman, diet.
In Spain, where tigernuts are known as ‘chufa’ and are grown in the Valencia region, they are used to make the popular drink, Horchata.
Fishermen also use them as bait, particularly for carp.
Culled from Dailymail, UK