If you’ve been on the gluten-free diet for any length of time you know there are all kinds of flour. Maybe you’ve even felt a little more flour sophisticated than your friends who automatically think wheat.
But tigernut flour is probably new, even to you.
This gluten-free, grain-free flour is considered a natural foods hot trend and is beginning to make its way onto store shelves around the country.
What is a tigernut? Well, it isn’t a nut, as the name might imply. It is a small root vegetable that grows in Northern Africa and the Mediterranean. Tigernut flour is naturally gluten free and Paleo. And it offers those allergic to nuts an option for adding protein when baking and cooking.
High in fiber, iron, potassium, protein, magnesium, zinc and vitamins E and C, tiger nuts were the primary food of our ancient ancestors who lived in East Africa between 2.4 million and 1.4 million years ago, according to a 2014 Oxford University study. One ounce of these crunchy root vegetables contains 40 percent of the recommended daily fiber intake.
Tigernuts contain natural sugar, healthy fats and have a high level of resistant starch, which reaches the colon intact. Resistant starch promotes prebiotic growth and supports a healthy immune and digestive track. It can also lower blood glucose levels and improves insulin sensitivity.
Because tigernut flour is light and has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, it allows bakers to cut back on added sugar. It tends to work well in combination with other flours and starches such as coconut flour, almond flour, gluten-free oats and arrowroot or potato starch.
You can use it to add a sweet crunchy texture to baked goods such as biscotti, cookies and pie crusts. Add Tigernut flour to brownies, pancakes, and pudding for a sweet protein punch. Its nutty flavor also works well when added to black bean or veggie burgers.
The world of gluten-free flours continues to surprise consumers with its shift towards healthful and tasty options.
Jennifer Harris is a frequent contributor to Gluten-Free Living. She is gluten-free consultant and blogs at gfgotoguide.com.