tiger nuts

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tiger nuts
« on: September 20, 2008, 16:54 »
Has anyone successfully tried growing tiger nuts (AKA Chufa)???
THey make a delicious drink out of them in Spain called Horchata and id like to try growing them as they sound easy - just a small nutlike tuber which gives a grasslike foliage and harvest in autumn.  Anyone tried growing this in UK?
Time is natures way of stopping everything happening at once


Kate and her Ducks

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tiger nuts
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2008, 17:23 »
Never heard of them before but look very interesting having googled them.

Maybe will give them a go next year. :lol:

I like growing unusual stuff that it's hard to buy.
Be like a duck. Calm on the surface but always paddling like the dickens underneath.


Robin Redbreast

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tiger nuts
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2008, 19:19 »
great for catching carp! :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:
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tiger nuts
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2008, 19:41 »
sounds interesting
The Tiger nut is not really a nut but a small tuber first discovered some 4000 years ago. It has many other names like Zulu nut, yellow nutgrass, ground almond, edible rush and rush nut.

In Spain it is very popular and is known as Chufa. It is one of two major species of the nutsedge genus Cyperus found as a weed in the tropics and subtropics on all types of disturbed soil. Its close relative Cyperus rotundus (purple nutgrass) is a severe problem weed in Florida.

The genus name Cyperus is from Cypeirus, the ancient Greek name for this genus. The species name esculentus is Latin and means edible.

Tiger nuts have been cultivated both as a livestock food and for human consumption of the tubers, eaten raw or baked.

The tubers are about the size of peanuts and are abundantly produced. Eaten raw they make a very acceptable snack and have a flavour and texture reminiscent of coconut.. They can be rehydrated by soaking before consumption and even softened further by boiling.

Tiger nuts are rich in oil which can be extracted for culinary and industrial use. "Horchata" is vegetable milk made with Tiger nut juice which is very popular in Spain.
Popularity in Cultivation

Tiger nuts were widely grown in Florida in the 1940’s, in the 1980s, they were still grown for livestock feed on a few farms. In Spain, Chufa is planted outdoors from late spring to midsummer by dropping the dried tubers 15 to 30 cm apart in rows 60 to 90 cm apart. Tiger nuts are widely cultivated in and exported from China, Mali and the Ivory Coast.

Seldom grown as a food item in home gardens, these nuts were widely available in Britain when I was a girl in the 1960’s although they are rare and exotic nowadays. Apparently they gained popularity in the post-war years when sugar was in short supply but subsequently fell out of favour and are now only available in health food shops or as fishing bait!
Nutritional Benefits of Tiger Nuts

Tiger nuts have long been recognised for their health benefits as they are high in fibre, proteins, and natural sugars. They have a high content of soluble glucose and oleic acid. Along with a high energy content (starch, fats, sugars and proteins), they are rich in minerals such as phosphorous and potassium and in vitamins E and C.

It is believed that they help to prevent heart attacks, thrombosis and cancer especially of the colon. They are thought to be beneficial to diabetics and those seeking to reduce cholesterol or lose weight. The very high fibre content combined with a delicious taste, make them ideal for healthy eating.

Typically, 100g Tiger nuts contains 386 kcal (1635 kj) as 7% proteins, 26% fats (oils), 31% starch, 21% glucose. They contain 26% fibre of which 14% is non-soluble and 12% soluble.
Mineral Content of Tiger nuts in mg%

sodium =34

calcium = 92

iron = 4

zinc = 3.5

phosphorus = 211

potassium = 424

magnesium = 93

copper = 0.97

manganese = 0.25
Description of Tiger Nut Plant

A perennial sedge which produces small underground tubers in the fashion of wrinkled peanuts. The top of the plant is grass-like leaves up to 90 centimetres long (about 36 inches). Apparently the plant will produce a quite attractive yellow flower but I have not seen this and assume a long, hot season is needed (in the way of Jerusalem Artichokes).

Initially, the plant will produce leaf and flourish as plants do but as the days become shorter and cooler, leaf production will cease and tubers will be formed. The tubers are mainly bunched together directly beneath the plant with a few a little way away. Each tuber is attached to a thin rhizome (underground stem).

High temperatures and low nitrogen levels increase tuber production. Note that increased day length (by lighting) will reduce tuber formation. The tuber epidermis (skin) contains substances which inhibit sprouting of tubers. This plant grows best in moist soil, tolerates high soil moisture and is intolerant of shade.
Domestic Cultivation of Tiger Nuts

Initially attracted to growing what to me is a childhood delicacy, I bought my tubers from Chiltern Seeds - sadly they are not listed this year but will be available elsewhere. In 2004 they cost £2.27 for 12 tubers.

My first attempt was to plant three tubers per 1.5 litre pot in multipurpose compost at a depth of about 4cm. They were planted on the 10th May 2004 and as is my custom with precious things of the garden the pots were jealously cosseted inside the plastic covered shed on one of my allotments. They grew, they thrived, I watered them but did not feed them. During November, the pots were allowed to dry out then the tubers were harvested on 8th December and the small crop of a small handful was put into a tray to dry and left in the allotment hut. Returning on 19th December to collect my treasure I found field mice had eaten the lot.

Undaunted and with three tubers remaining in the packet, these last three were planted in a three litre pot in multipurpose compost on 23rd May 2005. Having grown last year’s ill-fated crop at an altitude of 800 feet and being fairly unhappy with the sparse result, this last pot was kept on a different plot nearer to sea level. Although generally pots get sunk into the plot for the summer, this valuable one was kept inside the plastic building, watered but not fed. The pot was allowed to become dry during November and the nuts were harvested on 22nd November. The improved yield of about half a teacup of tubers was (in light of last year’s mouse attack) taken home to dry in a tray.

The tubers were not washed to avoid removing the inhibitors to sprouting as they were to be kept in the house for a while which might confuse them and start them into growth. After a week they were divided as follows- medium sized sound ones put into a seed packet and kept for next year, a few marked or dubious looking ones discarded, very big ones and very small ones eaten (they were delicious).
Use and Consumption

Tiger nuts are generally dried out to preserve them. This can take three months and they need turning over occasionally to ensure uniform drying. This can be kept for several years and can be reconstituted by soaking overnight. They can be further softened by boiling but I have found that as with coconut and pineapple, no amount of cooking will render them truly soft.

If they are still too chewy for your taste, try putting them through a food grinder, the result can be incorporated easily in many recipes in place of or together with coconut. I believe the ancient Egyptians were partial to incorporating Tiger nuts with dates which I have not personally tried but it sounds sweet and appealing.

info is here



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tiger nuts
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2008, 22:00 »
Quote from: "alandkell"
great for catching carp! :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:

I've often wondered if they were the same thing!! I used to eat them as a kid...used to get them from the sweetshop along with liquorice root :)



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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2008, 22:22 »
No idea, Slade, but I grew papyrus once and as it's quite related, go for it. That one needed a load of water. If I remember well, but that's all I remember, I'm afraid. :D
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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2008, 09:34 »
YEah ive heard tigernuts need a lot of water.  ive got a perfect waterlogged corner of my allotment for them though... :wink:

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