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 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!
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!