When was the last time you were able to cram a whole potato in your mouth? Ok, probably never (those little fingerling specimens do NOT count!). You are mulling this as you tear open a bag of tiny potato-relatives called TigerNuts, noticing that the package recommends (but does not require) that you soak the little bean-looking things first but being curious you pop one in your mouth. Chewing, it tastes a little sweet, then a little fibrous, then a little sweet again. These Tigernuts are WEIRD! But you reach for another. It has begun, your love affair with these tiny tubers from Paleo history. ~
For the true, true stories behind this incredible foodstuff, read on.
So what had to happen for me to be holding this bag with shriveled little tan pea things? Literally someone mailed it to me to try, but that's not important. Functionally, the Tigernut (or Chufa) had to be "rediscovered" by a population hungry for healthy traditional foods, then grown, then packaged and sold to consumers like you or I. And that's an awesome outcome, because these chewy/crunchy little spheres are all kinds of tasty. One caveat - they're very high in resistant starch which is the thing your gut bacteria loves to eat to make even better gut bacteria and nutrients for you. Think of the first time you downed a bunch of kefir before your body had adjusted. I'll leave that thought as is.
I had actually heard the word "tigernut" long before I got into the Paleo thing. Why? Because I got into the foodie thing first. Foodies love to go to hole-in-the-wall Mexican joints and order the strangest thing on the menu, which in the early 2000s wasn't tongue tacos but rather an exotic-sounding drink called Horchata. It was sweet and milky and a little chalky but clearly a bit industrial in preparation. Like any good gastronaut I had to know what the deal was with this concoction. Turns out that horchata is likely the very first "nut milk", predating all of the stuff we now know like almond milk, soy milk, hemp milk, and all the rest. It was enjoyed in the Middle East and then migrated to Spain, where it is still a common summer beverage, like our Southern sweet tea. Unlike sweet tea, tigernuts have ridiculous nutrition specs, and that is no exaggeration. Basically, beef liver is the only thing that tops them overall. Yow. Read further down for some of those details and watch this great video that explains everything!
Why Tigernuts are so good for you
With a sweet coconut taste and an infectious crunch, you will surely wonder where this nutrient-dense tuber has been all these years. Archaeologists reveal that our earliest ancestors, over two million years ago, relied heavily on this root that fueled 80% of their diet! Furthermore, historical documents show that Egyptians not only cultivated TigerNuts, but that Pharaohs’ tombs were filled with these “sacred roots.” Unfortunately, over the past few thousand years, we have lost touch with our roots… but not we can enjoy them once again.
TigerNuts are packaged in a dedicated allergen-free kitchen in Brooklyn, New York. They are a vegetable with zero reported allergies in two million years! They are ideal for EVERYONE, including pregnant women, children, diabetics, athletes, and health conscious individuals. On top of all of that, they are organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, paleo, allergen free, and versatile ancient treasures!
Here are some of the amazing nutrients in Tigernuts:
TigerNuts are the #1 whole food source of a particular type of fiber called Resistant Starch, which is the preferred food of our gut microflora. By nourishing these friendly tummy bugs, we are ensuring a strong immune system, which is key to eliminating various causes of fatigue, regulating body temperature, and helping to prevent the onset of most modern diseases!
As much potassium as coconut water, hydrating our bodies even more than water does while simultaneously reducing our food cravings due to their high level of nutrients.
As much iron as red meat and spinach, which is absolutely essential for the body’s growth, development, and performance, including our muscle function and the most important muscle of all: our brain!
Rich in Vitamin E and unsaturated fatty acids, such as oleic acid, which have been shown to decrease cholesterol significantly and hydrate your skin.
Here's the rest of the insanely nutritious run-down for tigernuts: high in magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, folate, iron, zinc, and B6.
How to eat Tigernuts
There are so many ways to use Tigernuts, from just plain ol' snacking to adding crunchy bits to other recipes, or soaking and blending them up for the original version of the drink we all know as Horchata!
One caveat: it is best to soak the Tigernuts before eating, as they are dried for shelf storage, not necessarily to impart crispiness for your teeth. Ok, that said, there are tons of recipes out in the world – the internet has some great resources for this amazing Paleo food.
- Make Horchata!
- Add to daily breakfast porridge
- Sprinkle into a stir-fry for extra toothy texture
- Make a "nut" milk with any extra ingredients you'd like, from tumeric to raw honey. Go wild.
- Chop up and add to any recipe in place of cacao nibs
- Soak until the texture is what you want, then snack all on their own. Feel the satiation!
- Find more recipes here: http://organicgemini.com/blogs/press/18902203-human-resources-wellness-february-2015
About Organic Gemini, in their own words
From the founder Mariam Kinkladze, "About a year and a half ago, my doctor diagnosed me with ovarian cancer and told me that I would need to have one of my ovaries removed.
We decided to pursue a holistic treatment first and reserve invasive surgery for the final alternative. I enlisted the help of a holistic doctor and began a diet restricted to food that was raw, organic, Non-GMO, gluten-free, and dairy-free.
After a month, my doctor informed me that the cyst appeared to be shrinking. After two months, he confirmed that it had shrunk considerably. By the end of the third month, the cyst had disappeared completely. We were all in disbelief. Around the same time, we discovered some new cells had begun to grow: those that would become my beautiful baby boy, Lukas.
With the miraculous recovery that I made, and the overall improvements to our health, we developed a passion for holistic food, for food that is organic and has not been genetically modified, for raw, gluten-free and dairy-free foods. We decided that we needed to spread this learning to as many people as possible.
One of the foods that was essential in this journey was an ancient superfood known as a TigerNut. With everything we had learned along the journey, we felt compelled to share this little tuber with the world.
We created a company called Organic Gemini that uses TigerNuts as the centerpiece for many different types of products, including a beverage called Horchata, a gluten- free flour, a cold-pressed oil, and of course the raw organic TigerNuts themselves. Although TigerNuts, also known as chufa, are popular in different parts of the world, we are excited to introduce it to the US through these products. We are honored and humbled to be able to help other people experience this wonderful superfood so that they can reap the health benefits that we have experienced and continue to experience."
Here are answers to some of your most important questions!
Why are they crunchy?
They are naturally crunchy because they are so dense with fiber. One ounce of TigerNuts account for 40% of your daily recommended fiber.
How many TigerNuts are too many TigerNuts?
While no study has been conducted, to our knowledge, on the effects of eating significant quantities of TigerNuts, we believe your health can only improve with the amount that you consume. Remember, our paleo ancestors consumed TigerNuts for up to 80% of their diet.