It feels like an eternity ago that the only flour option for baking was…. well, flour! In recent years, we’ve seen countless trendy flour alternatives emerge, from almond meal to coconut and oat flour. But as crowded as the healthy baking aisle has become, we’re yet to see a flour made out of vegetables… until now. Introducing tigernut, the new plant-based flour set to take the wellness world by storm.
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What is tigernut flour?
Despite what the name suggests, tigernut is a type of small root vegetable—not a nut! It derives from the cyperus esculentus var. sativus plant, a grass-like species native to Africa. With a similar appearance to peanuts (which is also not a nut!), they get their name from the stripes on the exterior. Its use is said to date back to Ancient Egypt and they can be eaten raw, roasted, soaked or boiled.
Much like almond meal, tigernut flour is said to have a neutral and slightly nutty taste. It also has a granular texture, which makes it perfect for baking cakes, donuts, bread and muffins. It can also be made into a milk, so it’s probably only a matter of time before we also start seeing it pop up in health stores in liquid form.
What are the health benefits of tigernut flour?
Being a root vegetable, it’s no surprise that tigernut flour comes with a long list of health benefits. Not only is it high in fibre— around 15% — it’s also packed with gut-friendly resistant starch—a prebiotic starch that passes through to the colon where it nourishes the gut bacteria. It also contains digestive enzymes, which are said to improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels and keep bowel movements regular.
Tiger flour is also packed with vitamins and minerals, including phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese, iron and vitamins E and C. It’s also high in good fat, specifically, oleic acid, which is also found in olive oil and avocado. It also happens to be low in calories — around 50 chickpea-sized pieces of plain, raw tiger nuts contains only 120 calories. Being free from nuts, it’s an excellent healthy baking option for those with nut allergies.
Where to get tigernut flour
Known for their healthy baking substitutes, Australian company McKenzie’s Foods are bringing tigernut flour to the masses. This week, they launched their new range (also including oat flour) into Woolworths, Coles and independent supermarkets. However, it was Terra Firma Foods that first brought the tigernut to Aussie shores with their range of diced and peeled tigernut snacks, as well as tigernut flour.
Over in the US, you can pick up tigernut flour online from brands like Anthony’s or Organic Gemini, as well as in a handful of health supermarkets.