Like the peanut, the tiger nut is not technically a nut, but an edible tuber whose many common names include tiger nut sedge and earth almond. It is found widely across the world, both as a crop and as a weed. Archaeological evidence exists for its cultivation 8,000 years ago in Egypt, and is has been known in southern Europe for several centuries.
Now tiger nuts are making a comeback as a superfood; as a healthy, sweetish snack, as a nutritious ingredient in salads and energy shakes, smoothies, juices and dairy-free milk, and ground as gluten-free flour for use in baking, breakfast cereals and all kinds of sweet and savoury dishes.
They provide minerals including potassium, calcium and phosphorus, vitamins C and E, some protein and fibre, and particularly the kind of resistant starches which are useful for weight loss diet. They are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic and linoleic acid, which can help reduce cholesterol and promote heart health.
The oil can also be extracted for culinary purposes and for cosmetics. Its vitamin E content is a powerful antioxidant which can help maintain collagen, reduce wrinkles and slow down cell damage by free radicals.