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What are Chufas?
The Chufa (Cyperus esculentus) is a herbaceous plant from which the tuber is harvested. The cultivation of tiger nuts can be traced back to distant times and they seem to have been a very popular foodstuff with the Ancient Egyptians. Tiger nuts later spread to Valencia, where they are still cultivated today.
Nowadays, Valencian tiger nuts are renowned as a traditional product in this area of the Mediterranean and they are used to make the refreshing drink widely known as horchata.
Chufa and their derived products have been recognised by different European studies as a very healthy product with a wide variety of beneficial properties for the body:
- Gluten free
- Prevention of cardiovascular and circulatory diseases
- Reduced risk of cancer thanks to their high content of oleic acid and other polyunsaturated fats
- Lactose- and fructose-free
- High in folic acid or vitamin B9, as well as vitamin E and antioxidants
- The nuts contain healthy fats (especially mono-unsaturated fats), zero cholesterol, as well as carbohydrates and fibre, making them a great source of quality energy
- Source of minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium.
- Rich in amino acids essential for the body
- They have anti-diarrhoeal and digestive properties and strengthen the immune system.
Suitable for diabetics
Owing to their content of complex sugars (starch) rather than simple sugars (glucose and sucrose), tiger nuts are suitable for people with diabetes. Provided that no sugar is added during the process, the drink known as horchata de chufa is also suitable for diabetics.
How to enjoy Chufas
While in Spain tiger nuts are cultivated mainly for the horchata drink, in other countries their consumption is on the increase as flour for gluten-free pastry and bakery products, raw, peeled, toasted or even as a snack.
If you're planning to cook with tiger nuts, we recommend you leave them to soak in clean water for between 8 and 24 hours, even longer if you are going to grind them to make horchata and you don't have a very powerful food processor. Ideally, the water should be changed to remove any impurities or dirt that may appear. This hydrates them and makes them easier to crush to extract the pulp and all the flavour.
Our hydrated tiger nuts can be cooked on their own or with spices and sugar for desserts, or combined with oats and other cereals to make porridge or the Spanish gachas. Lightly toasted or in their na.tural state, they are a good snack. They are easier to eat if you buy them already peeled and are one of our star products. Alternatively, they can be crushed or mashed—without turning them into flour—as a crunchy topping for yoghurt and fruit, muesli, bread, biscuits or added to creams and salads.
Tiger nut flour can be used in all kinds of recipes: sponge cakes, crackers, biscuits, breads, milkshakes, sauces, creams and soups, bechamel, custard, puddings, smoothies, granola, cereal bars and salads, etc.
Tiger nut flour is also an ideal alternative for people with cœliac disease or those seeking to reduce simple carbohydrates to enrich their recipes with more nutrients and more flavour. The pulp left over from making horchata can also be used in sweet and savoury pastries and bakes
If you would like to find out more, follow us on ChufaLovers and on the social media, where you will discover surprising recipes that are tasty and easy to make.
Lactose- and fructose-free