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Tiger Nuts: Grow Your Own

Note: The article was updated

It’s amazing what will trend online these days, and here at Garden Culture, we have a few posts that gain more traction than others. One of the top searches on our website is the humble and wholesome tiger nut; people want to know what it is, what it does for you, and how to grow tiger nuts at home. 

What are Tiger Nuts?

The tiger nuts we’re talking about here don’t belong to tigers (if you catch my drift), and they’re not nuts either. Harvested from the yellow nutsedge plant, they’re striped tubers similar to sweet potatoes (but smaller). They’re called nuts because they’re about the same size and taste like almonds, pecans, or hazelnuts. 

Tiger nuts look like hazelnuts

Tiger nuts are high in antioxidants, fiber, and essential nutrients, making them an excellent addition to your diet. They’re believed to help regulate blood sugar and digestion. You can eat them boiled, roasted, or raw. 

Some people like to bake with tiger nut flour or drink tiger nut milk, but you can also add them to smoothies, granola and yogurt or eat a handful as a snack. 

Homegrown Tiger Nuts

People have been cultivating tiger nuts for centuries! According to Forbes, records point to this superfood being used as far back as Neolithic Egypt before spreading to other parts of the world. 

Yellow nutsedge is a weed, which makes it reasonably easy to grow in most climates. Foraging in the wild is possible as long as you know what you’re looking for. Growing your own at home is easy!

Tiger nuts look like weeds when they grow

You should yield a decent bumper crop of tiger nuts if you grow this crop in full sun and well-draining soil rich in compost. Yellow nutsedge likes to be watered regularly. 

Sow seeds about a half inch deep in April or May and fertilize with compost tea about a month later. Tiger nuts should be ready to harvest in about three or four months, and while they’ll likely survive if protected throughout a mild winter, it’s best to consider them an annual crop. 

Remember, yellow nutsedge is a weed and will spread like one, too. It can quickly overtake the garden, so consider growing in large containers, fabric pots, or planting in the ground with a root barrier. You harvest tiger nuts as you would potatoes, so growing in buckets isn’t out of the question! 

After harvest, carefully clean the tiger nuts. Drying them will help them keep for several months, even up to a year! You can also grind the harvest into flour or use it to make ‘nut’ milk. Whatever you choose, you’ll be reaping a ton of health benefits from tiger nuts!

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19 Comments
  • Clyde Gibson says:

    Where can I order tiger nuts seeds so I can grow them myself

  • Glenda Barton says:

    I have these plants growing in my yard although I didn’t plant them, they were here when I moved here. It’s July now, and I’m wondering if it’s too soon to harvest. Probably, because I don’t see any tubers on the roots. They’re awfully hard to dig up. Should I wait until fall? I tried to dig them up last year but the roots were tough to dig up and never saw the tubers last year either. Does it take several years for this plant to form tubers?

  • Bahijja Isah says:

    This is so great

  • Pauline says:

    Can they be grown from commercially packed nuts (eg Macro)?

  • araron says:

    preetty far aparrtt

  • Mike says:

    I would urge extreme caution in planting these seeds. This is an extremely aggressive and noxious weed that will take over everything in your yard and spread its seeds far and wide.

  • Beth Arthur says:

    I found a source for live plants, but there is no “days to harvest’ information. What would be your estimate?

  • CLAIRE SKITT says:

    This doesn’t say how far apart to plant tiger nut seedlings.
    Please could you let us know ?
    Thank you.

    • Serena says:

      You’ll want to plant them about 2 inches apart. Happy growing!

    • wolf jones says:

      Funny how grass not a food is more excepted in the average American yard. Those days are over if you don’t have food. You won’t you will wish you let that tiger nut grow and killed your grass FJB

  • Fleur says:

    Where can I buy tigernuts?

  • cutopic says:

    They really don’t taste like a hazelnut. They are lightly sweet and taste of a delightful combination of vanilla and coconut. The only downside is they are so fibrous that they can be quite rough on the way out of the body.

  • Dianne says:

    This plant is VERY invasive. If you plant it once you will never ever get rid of it! It will take over everything. You can never kill it.

  • VIPUL JADHAV says:

    Hi
    I’m interested to buy Tiger Nuts Seeds
    Quantity 25 for plantation at my home
    Garden . I’m from India so send to me
    Information to buy online.
    Thank you

  • Okolo BLESSING says:

    Please can I plant it in July.?

    • Serena Sayers says:

      The ideal time to plant Tiger Nuts is in April but you can plant them later in the season if you must. I would hurry if you want to see a harvest!

  • Gerald says:

    Very interesting and informative article. Two questions: I have six acres of land I’d like to plant in tiger nuts. Since I’m a new farmer, what cheap hand-held machine could I employ to help in harvesting the crop.

    What is the shelf life of tiger nuts?

    • Amber says:

      Hi Gerald,

      Glad you found the article useful. It’s an interesting crop, especially the superfood from weeds aspect. You would need more than a shovel for a six acre harvest, but I’m not sure what implement is perfect for this crop. Maybe some small walk-behind peanut digger? But it looks like peanuts stay closer to the surface than tiger nuts. If I were you I would start with a smaller planting than 6 acres to learn exactly how deep you need to dig to get most to all of the nuts. It would seem that hilled rows might keep the nuts from going so deep and make harvesting them easier… but that’s just a guess. There’s not a lot of farming info on this plant – most farmers are on a never ending battle to kill it. Which has all the ag university papers on it leaning toward getting rid of it and not harvesting it. Same thing with farm equipment… you’re on a pioneer adventure 🙂 Dig deep into the internet to learn as much as possible before spring planting time. This walk-behind peanut digger made in China looks close to what you’re looking for – but I have no idea where you could buy one.

      Good luck with the crop! I hope it turns out well.

Author

Catherine Sherriffs

Editor at Garden Culture Magazine

Catherine is a Canadian award-winning journalist who worked as a reporter and news anchor in Montreal’s radio and television scene for 10 years. A graduate of Concordia University, she left the hustle and bustle of the business after starting a family. Now, she’s the editor and a writer for Garden Culture Magazine while also enjoying being a mom to her three young kids. Her interests include great food, gardening, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.