You must be wondering, what would be the reason behind giving such a wild name to a nut? It’s because of the faint strips like tiger skin are present on the nut.
What is Tigernut?
Tigernut (Cyperus Esculentus) is an obscure vegetable weed plant which produces sweet nut-like tubers a.k.a. earth almonds. Packed with many essential fibers, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and sugars; makes it a highly valued, healthy & nutritional agro product which can be used raw for consumption or for further processing. Tigernuts requires precise climatic conditions (hot climatic regions, with high average temperatures, high environmental relative humidity and a 4-5 months frost-free period) for cultivation; and the countries which are matching these conditions are expected to help this nut make its presence in the food processing industry as they are not “new” but were present thousands of years ago in few parts of the world.
Efforts need to be made for the cultivation as well as processing of Tigernuts in the country like India, as the tuber has an immense export potential across the world.
Tigernuts require a mild climate and loose soil for its growth. India, having diverse agro-climatic conditions, along with the implementation of various experimental programs would favor the cultivation of such a crop.
It is the most potential crop cultivated mainly in southern Europe and West Africa. Still, it has been technologically underutilized and unknown to most rest of the world.
How do they taste?
Tigernuts have a sweet, smoky, creamy, nutty, earthy flavor.
The nutritional goodness of C. esculentus:
One serving of tigernuts (one ounce or 30 grams) contains about:
- 120 calories
- 19 grams carbohydrates
- 2 grams protein
- 7 grams fat
- 10 grams fiber
- 1.8 milligrams iron (10% DV)
- 28 milligrams magnesium (7% DV)
- 1.1 milligrams zinc (7% DV)
- 215 milligrams potassium (6% DV)
- 0.1 milligrams vitamin B6 (5% DV).
(Note: DV – Daily Value).
The medical potency of Tigernuts:
Today, Tigernuts have been getting a fair amount of attention in health food aisles; appraised as “Superfoods” and becoming popular among paleo dieters. They assist in following body functions:
- Acts as Anti-Oxidant: Tigernuts are high in vitamin E and oleic acid content, and they are known for their antioxidative nature and preventive effect on the formation of free radicals in cell membranes and protecting your body.
- Allergen-Free & Gluten-Free : There is no such document present which shows allergies caused by consuming tigernuts, and their gluten-free properties make them suitable for celiac patients.
- Prebiotic : These little tubers have a high amount of Resistant starch, which is a valuable prebiotic. These prebiotics function by serving as energy sources for the positive gut bacteria that keep your entire digestive system running smoothly.
- Controls Diabetes: the insoluble fibers of these tuber helps maintain the blood sugar level, thus having control over diabetes.
- Lowers Bad Cholesterol: Monounsaturated fats play important role in lowering the Low-Density Cholesterol (LDL) level in the body. Thus, protecting against coronary heart disease, etc.
- Repairs Bones and Tissue : The nuts contain a significant amount of essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron necessary for bones, tissues repair, muscles, and the bloodstream.
Considering the nutritional and health benefits of the Tigernuts, positioning this product wisely in the FMCG market is important. Tigernuts are becoming popular in the country like Spain (which is also the largest producer), US, China, many parts of Africa are preferring tigernuts raw, dried or in the form of snacks.
Moreover, owing to the positive effects of the tuber and increasing perception on the consumption and its applications in various streams, can aid to catch a huge consumer base in the country. The rise in the disposable income, changing trends, etc. can benefit the production and processing of tigernuts; has become a potential business idea.
Applications / Economic importance of the Nutsedge family:
As mentioned earlier, tigernuts can be eaten raw or roasted but the best-known form of consumption across the globe is the “Horchata de chufa – a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage” or merely called as the Tigernut milk. It has high nutritional value and acts like an energy drink, both for young and old. 2nd application is tigernuts flour, which can be used in the kitchen or to produce biscuits and other bakery products. Therefore, has a great potential in the food market, limited only by its very short shelf-life.
As a source of oil, Tigernuts can be used in pharmacy for treatment of diarrhea, indigestion, etc. and can also be utilized in cosmetic industry as it helps slow down the aging of skin cells.
New research on tigernuts has shown that we can use it to produce biofuel, which will be cheaper & environment-friendly source of energy.
Altogether Tigernut can be considered as a wholesome stuff. It has an efficiency to change the economic fortune of rural farmers with the help of proper guidance regarding the cultivation as well as nutritional benefits.
The person behind this effort is Ms. Supriya Itape – Sr. Business Conceptualizer and it is moderated by Mr. Nikhil Thite – Co-founder – Meticulous.