May I have the privilege of introducing you to the wonderful, the amazing, the beautiful, the one and onlllyyyyyyyyyyy: Tiger Nuts! (cue music and fancy lights). When I talk about tiger nuts, people seem so interested, so today I felt it would be best to give tiger nuts a proper introduction.
I’ve personally known about tiger nuts for about 4 years. Honestly, I WISH I had known about them when I was first diagnosed (same goes for cassava, safe water, and a few other key ingredients). With that in mind, be sure to share this info with your food allergy and special diet friends. You never know who could really need this ingredient today.
In addition to being awesome, tiger nuts are nutrient rich, and contains resistant starch (a prebiotic fiber) that can help improve gut health.
What Are Tiger Nuts
First and foremost, tiger nuts are NOT a nut. I can’t stress this enough. I always feel bad for the poor little things, getting such a terrible name. However, given their raw hardness, I can completely understand why someone made such a terrible mistake.
Tiger Nut Recipe: Paleo, GAPs, AIP Donuts
Tiger nuts are a tuber/root vegetable. They’re small spheres with a lot of potential. When harvested, they’re dried before sold/used. Most people soak them (or boil them) before using to make them softer and improve the texture.
Tiger nuts have a nutty flavor, and a hint of sweetness. They can be used in beverages (traditional horchata anyone?), baked goods, granola, and more. Tiger nuts can also be eaten raw. If you want to do a really deep dive on tiger nuts, check out the wikipedia page.
Tiger Nuts are just about completely universal which is epic. While you can’t enjoy them on GAPs or SCD, here are a list of people who can enjoy tiger nuts:
- Allium Free
- AIP Paleo
- Cane/Refined Sugar Free
- Corn Free
- Dairy Free
- Egg Free
- Fructose Intolerant
- Gluten/Wheat Free
- Legume Free
- Low FODMAP
- Low Histamine
- Nightshade Free
- Nut Free
- Oat Free
- Peanut Free
- Sesame Free
- Soy Free
- Yeast Free
Is that a list or what?! THIS is why I adore tiger nuts so much. They can be enjoyed by so many people, and have a lot of potential for recipes.
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Whole Tiger Nut As An Ingredient
Tiger nuts can be used as one of the main ingredients in recipes. They work very well in granola, snack mixes, faux porridge, and anywhere else you’d like to add a crunch. You could even put them on top of salads if you can’t consume croutons.
Tiger Nut Recipe: AIP Fish Sticks
I like to compare tiger nuts to coconut in regards to versatility. With coconut, you have cream, flesh, oil, milk, flour, water, dried coconut, shredded coconut, and maybe a few more items. With tiger nut, you have dried tiger nut, sliced tiger nuts, tiger nut oil, tiger nut flour, tiger nut butter, and tiger nut milk.
Tiger Nut Oil
There’s so much I wouldn’t be able to make without tiger nut oil. To describe it best, I’d say it has a rich mouthfeel, and a very neutral taste. To give you an example, I personally cannot stand the taste of olive oil. I’m not allergic to olives, I just really don’t like the taste. It made cooking, baking, and roasting difficult to enjoy for the longest time. Once I had tiger nut oil, I never looked back.
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When I developed the paleo-ish cake recipes, I tested them with both olive oil and tiger nut oil. The olive oil cake was more dense and had a terrible after taste. The tiger nut oil cake was lighter, fluffier, and tasted amazing! I’m completely hooked.
A Few Benefits of Tiger Nut Oil:
- High Smoke Point (great for frying, which we totally do)
- Great For Skin
- Vitamin E Content
- Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid
Allergy Inspiration: Ice Cream & Cones featuring tiger nuts
Tiger Nut Flour
In my opinion, tiger nut flour has a nutty, almost peanutty, taste. The texture is a bit grainy. I’m sure you could grind flour a bit more for a finer texture. Tiger nut flour can be purchased, or made at home with something like a NutraMilk. While I do purchase tiger nuts in bulk, I opt to purchase flour (for the sake of consistency in recipe development).
Tiger nut flour stand alone works really well in faux peanut butter cookies. We’ve developed a lot of recipes using tiger nut flour, and have found that the best results are when tiger nut flour is blended with cassava and arrowroot. This blend has created an awesome 1:1-ish wheat flour replacement.
Tiger Nut Milk
Perhaps one of my favorite uses of tiger nuts: milk! You’ve heard of almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, and all their friends. However, if you are in a boat similar to mine, you NEED tiger nut milk in your life. NEEEEEDDDDD.
Here’s a video of us making tiger nut milk. We make it in our NutraMilk because the blender and food processor didn’t get the job done to our standards. Milk is possibly one of the most important ingredients needed in a kitchen. It’s used for cooking, baking, ice cream making, and more.
Tiger nut milk is a great option if you are Dairy & Nut Free, Dairy & Corn Free, Nut Free Paleo, Coconut Free AIP, or unable to source safe raw materials to make plant-based milk at home.
With tiger nut milk, I’ve been able to make cream sauce, ice cream, CAKE, and much more. Did you see the cake???? Because cake. Also, milk and cereal. Yes, that’s a corn free, top 8 free, paleo thing too 🙂
Peeled & Sliced Tiger Nuts
Sliced tiger nuts have the same applications as sliced almonds. Great for salads, granola, and snacking in my opinion.
I purchase peeled tiger nuts from Organic Gemini. I personally enjoy using peeled tiger nuts for milk making as it’s easier on my throat. In fact, when I make milk, I don’t drink it right away. I allow the milk to settle and only drink the lighter portion on top. Some of you may end up doing the same thing based on your physical needs.
Some companies in the food world use chemicals and other unsavory methods for pre-peeling fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Organic Gemini uses a machine, chemical free, method for peeling their tiger nuts.
Tiger Nut Butter
If you’re unable to consume peanut, seeds, or tree nuts, helloooooo tiger nut butter. I’ve mixed this with safe jam in the past for the ultimate play on PB&J. It’s SO delicious. Almost too delicious. I’ve purchased this tiger nut butter, but am also trying to make my own at home.
I’d consider myself new to tiger nut butter only because I use it rarely. It’s rather expensive, so it’s something I really need to engineer at home. I do have some ideas on how to use it in recipes, but those will have to wait for now.
Tiger nuts are awesome. I don’t know that I can say that more clearly. Without tiger nuts and a few other key ingredients, I would have truly starved by now. It’s only because of companies like Organic Gemini, Summit Spring, Otto’s Cassava, and The NutraMilk that I’m able to create so much from so little.
If you’re struggling with food allergies et al., what I can tell you is: there’s hope. There are so many obscure ingredients out there that when used creatively can really help you thrive in the kitchen.