Tiger Nuts - What are tiger nuts? A definition

Tiger nuts
Tiger nuts.

Wondering about Tiger Nuts, or never heard of them and just stumbled on in? Read on for a definition of tiger nuts, nutritional information about tiger nuts, how to use them and why you're probably going to want to give them a try!

What are tiger nuts?

Despite their name, tiger nuts are not actually a nut, but rather a little tuber (like potatoes, yams and Jerusalem artichokes). Depending on where you're from or where you've travelled in the world, you may also know them as "nookon" or "chufa".

 

Need another reason to give tiger nuts a try? They're completely vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, paleo friendly (they're even "Certified Paleo" which I just learned is a thing) and as if that wasn't enough, they're even suitable for a raw vegan diet. And finally, they might just be the perfect vegan snack. 

What do tiger nuts taste like?

Perhaps most important of all the information you need about tiger nuts is this - what do they actually taste like? Are they any good? 

Tiger nuts have an interesting texture, like a hard fig on the outside, and slightly chewy on the inside (similar to vegan jerky, and perhaps similar to what I imagine real jerky to feel like). It's a bit difficult to make comparisons, but in a world where huge companies spend years and millions testing the perfect amount of crunch and mouth feel, its a pleasant change to find something that you really have to chew on. That being said, if you find that you don't like the chewiness, they're also available pre-peeled, and in this form, they're much more like a perfectly cooked sweet potato in texture, but much firmer.

As far as the actual taste, it's definitely a bit on the earthy side, with a natural sweetness. I find tiger nuts to be pleasant tasting enough, though not super flavorful, like a Brazil nut, but the sweetness is a bit like a pecan.

So overall, what do tiger nuts taste like? Like a hard fig crossed with a Brazil nut, a sweet potato and a pecan is my analogy.

If that's hard to imagine, just give them a try and suggest something better!

How to use tiger nuts 

Wondering what to do with tiger nuts? The best way to use tiger nuts, is, in my opinion, to munch them straight out of the bag as a healthy and all natural snack! If you're craving chips or crisps, or want a lower-fat alternative to nuts, tiger nuts will really hit the spot. I like the chewiness, so while many people will advise soaking them first, I don't bother. They're great just as is, raw and whole, in my opinion!

That being said, tiger nuts are also available in pre-sliced, and in this form, they make a great salad, oatmeal or breakfast quinoa bowl add- in. They're a perfect naturally sweet addition to homemade granola, either sliced or whole. 

Nutritional Facts about tiger nuts

Tiger nuts are marketed as a paleo superfood from our ancestral homeland of Africa. Tubers such as tiger nuts, proponents claim, fueled nearly 80% of our evolutionary ancestors, so it should also be good for us modern humans. 

Another health benefit of eating tiger nuts, proponents claim, is their "pre-biotic" fiber, which can help promote natural pro-biotic growth in your intestine, leading to better digestion.

Whether or not you believe that claim, probiotics are certainly beneficial for a number of reasons. And, to further debunk the hype, tiger nuts are not the only source of pre-biotic fiber, but they are undoubtably a great source (and they make a great snack!). so, if you haven't already, give them a try!