How to make Tigernut Milk (and why you should)
Tigernut milk, or as the Spanish say, Horchata de Chufa. This drink is popular here in Spain, often drank in the hot summer months. The locals serve this iced cold. Sugar is usually added but I don’t because to me, tigernuts are already sweet. I opt for keeping things as natural as possible as well as keeping sugar counts low.
Funny enough, tigernuts aren’t actually a nut. They are long tubers that grow just beneath the soil. Their texture varies from one part of the world to another but the ones we buy here are hard on the outside, chewy on the inside and pleasantly sweet. I find them to be sweeter than nuts. You can eat them straight as a healthy snack, soak them and blend them into milk or grind them into a flour.
The health benefits of Tigernuts
Tigernuts may be small but they offer a whole lot of vitamins and minerals in just a small amount. Just 40 grams (or 1/4 cup) of these tiny nutritional powerhouses contains:
- 120 calories
- 27g carbohydrates
- 10g fiber
- 8g of fat
- 10% DV iron
- 7% DV magnesium
- 6% DV potassium
- 7% DV zinc
- 5% DV vitamin B6
They also contain vitamins C, vitamin E, sodium, phosphorus and copper. Tigernuts contain most of their fat in oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fat.
Why is that important?
Because mono-unsaturated fat is healthy fat and absolutely vital for good overall health. Oleic acid is anti-inflammatory and promotes good heart health. On a cellular level, oleic acid helps reduce damage caused by free radicals.
Tigernuts are also rich in resistent starch. This is not to be confused with starch found in most carbohydrate foods. Resistent starch is basically food for the good bacteria in your gut. Probiotics have been somewhat of a health craze in the last few years but the same should be said of prebiotics.
Prebiotics are the food for probiotics; the culture of live beneficial bacteria that live in the digestive tract. They are responsible for healthy digestion and around 90% of the immune system.
Tigernut milk history
People have been consuming tigernuts since before Ancient Egypt. You could consider them the perfect Paleo food. The Ancient Egyptians considered these tubers to be almost sacred because of their ability to grow underground in extreme weather conditions even surviving plagues. The Egyptians, then trading with the Ancient Greece, introduced this food to the Ancient Greeks and tigernuts can be seen noted in works like the Iliad.
Tigernuts continued to be consumed by the Romans, then the Arabs and even in the Middle Ages. All throughout history people have understood that these little tubers are medicinal and offer superior nutrition.
Today and in Modern times, Tigernuts are home to Spain, specifically the Valencian region. Tigernut (or Chufas) grown there are considered superior to others grown around the world because they are smaller and naturally sweeter.
For example, in Mexico, their Horchata is made with rice. In Italy their Horchata is made with Almonds. Even in today’s modern day fresh Horchata de Chufa is a rare find here in Spain with most of it being produced industrially with added sugar and other not so natural ingredients.
Tigernut milk is best homemade and consumed fresh. It is the perfect substitution for anyone with sensitivities to milk and dairy as well as a nutritious kid-friendly drink and snack!
Horchata de Chufa
This recipe makes 1 liter or a little over 1 quart.
- 250g (a little over 1 cup) of tigernuts
- 6 cups of warm water
- In a large bowl pour in the tigernuts
- Cover with warm water and let sit overnight
- In the morning pour everything into a blender and blend on high to 3-5 minutes
- Pour mixture into a nut milk bag and strain out the liquid
- Store the liquid in a bottle or jar in the refrigerator for 2-3 days
- Serve cold with ice and a dash of cinnamon
And if you like Cinnamon be sure to check out my easy fail proof recipe for soft sourdough cinnamon bread rolls!
I hope you enjoy this recipe. If you made it or have any suggestions let me know in the comments below!
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