I don't just eat tigernuts, I swear... although the last three posts would suggest otherwise.
Did you know that ten years ago, the largest corporate purchaser of kale in the continental United States was Sizzler's? Yes, the buffet restaurant you went ate at on school field trips where most of the food looked/tasted like plastic. But they didn't cook with the kale- no, they used it as a garnish on top of the ice in the buffet line, and they put all the greasy food in trays on top of it because it looked pretty. Little did they know, the next major superfood was right under their noses- and now I can bet Sizzler's has some kale somewhere on that menu.
There's something similar going on right now. The tigernut is getting cool. You're going to start hearing about it, and seeing it, a whole lot more. Like kale, it's not new... if you've ever had mexican hot chocolate or "horchata", you've had the chufa! Our "caveman" ancestors also used to eat it and it's very likely that this tuber greatly contributed to our human evolution. I'm excited to welcome it back.
It's not a nut! I repeat, it is not a nut. Tigernuts are actually starchy tubers, like yucca, taro, and other root vegetables. They have a terrific nutritional content- starch, fat, protein, and carbohydrates/sugar- but the type of carbohydrate is the real draw here. Tigernuts are rich in resistant starch. Resistant starch acts as the food for your probiotics! Most carbohydrates are broken down and absorbed in the small intenstine, but the type of starch in tigernuts resists digestion all the way until it reaches the large intestine, where it becomes food for your probiotic bacteria. This makes the tigernut a prebiotic, an essential component of a healthy microflora.
I also love making tigernut milk as an alternative to nut milks. It's important to rotate your foods and include as much variety as possible as to prevent the formation of food allergies, which is common when you eat the same foods all the time. Tigernuts, when soaked for 24 hours, make a creamy, rich, almost nutty consistency and flavor after you have blended and strained them. I've been rocking this in my morning smoothies and it adds a low glycemic sweetness that I love.
I wanted to up the ante a little bit more, and combine this superfood with my other favorite superfood... TURMERIC. Mighty turmeric. The mother of all anti-inflammatories. Curcumin is the active constituent in turmeric and can greatly reduce acute and also systemic inflammation in the body. I always combine with black pepper (the active constituent is "piperin"), as it increases the activity and cellular bioavailability of curcumin by 2,000%! So I always add a couple of cracks of fresh ground black pepper to anything with this neon root spice. You can blend some bee pollen in there as well for a little more sweetness, a powerful amino-acid bump and extra allergy-fighting power... not to mention an even more pungent yellow hue.
1 cup whole tigernuts (I love this brand)
4 cups filtered water
4 TBSP cold-pressed turmeric juice OR powdered turmeric spice
1 TSP cinnamon
1/4TSP cracked black pepper
2 drops stevia (optional)
pinch sea salt
- Place tigernuts in a large container, cover in filtered water and soak for 24 hours
- Change water after 12 hours
- Strain, rinse and add to high powered blender with the four cups of filtered water
- Add rest of ingredients to blender
- Blend on high for 3-4 minutes, until tigernuts have been broken down and the milk appears frothy
- Strain through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag
- Keeps 4 days in the refrigerator
Hang onto your strained pulp- that's all the resistant starch right there! You can dry it out and use it in cookies and baking, or add it to smoothies.
I also love to freeze the milk in an ice cube tray and use it to add thickness to smoothies and shakes instead of relying on bananas or other super sweet frozen fruit- this will dramatically lessen the sugar content.