Tigernut (Cyperus esculentus)

Cyperus esculentus (chufa sedge, yellow nutsedge, tigernut sedge, earth almond) is a species of sedge native to warm temperate to subtropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere, often cultivated for its edible tubers (tigernuts). It is an annual or perennial plant, growing to 90 cm tall, with solitary stems growing from a tuber. The stems are triangular in section, and bear slender leaves 3–10 mm wide. The flowers of the plant are distinctive, with a cluster of flat oval seeds surrounded by four hanging, leaf-like bracts positioned 90 degrees from each other. The plant foliage is very tough and fibrous, and is often mistaken for a grass.

he tubers are edible, with a slightly sweet, nutty flavour, compared to the more bitter-tasting tuber of the related Cyperus rotundus (purple nutsedge). They are quite hard, and are generally soaked in water before they can be eaten, thus making them much softer and giving them a better texture. They have various uses; in particular, they are used inSpain to make horchata. They are sometimes known by their Spanish name, chufa.
 
Tigernuts have excellent nutritional qualities, with a fat composition similar to olives and a rich mineral content, especially phosphorus and potassium. The oil of the tuber was found to contain 18% saturated (palmitic acid and stearic acid) and 82% unsaturated (oleic acid and linoleic acid) fatty acids. 

 

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