History of the tigernut

The crop of the tigernut is very old. Tubers of tigernuts were found  in sarcophagi and Egyptian tombs of the first dynasties (Serrallach, 1927). It was a appreciated food by the ancient Egyptians, as the Theophrastus narrative proves: "... on the sandy land, not far from the river bed, the Malniathalle, round in shape, boneless and skinless, grows on the earth. The citizens collect the tubers and cook them, so they become very sweet, then eat them as a dessert.


We found tigernut references  in very old books of Persian and Arab authors. Some Chinese authors recommended the drink of the tigernut juice as an appetite stimulant and general wellness (Dragendorff, 1898).

From Egypt the cultivation of the tigernut  spread to North Africa, reaching the Iberian Peninsula and Sicily with the Islamic waves of the Middle Ages. The reasons that probably justify the introduction of its cultivation were, on the one hand, the prohibition of wine consumption by the muslim religion, which would certainly correlate with the proliferation of soft drinks and soft drinks. And on the other hand the recognition of the medicinal properties of the tigernuts. In fact, the doctor of Carlos I, Andrés Laguna, in the sixteenth century, assigned to the tubers of tigernut different properties like help against inflammations of the respiratory tract and some stomach discomfort. Valencian popular tradition considers tigernut milk (horchata) as an effective remedy against diarrheal disorders.

The Islamic culture expanded the cultivation of tigernut in the Mediterranean areas like the Valencian Community. There was written evidence that in the thirteenth century a refreshing drink called "llet de xufes" (tigernut milk) was already widely consumed.

Cavanilles (1795) after describing extensively the cultivation of tigernut, indicates that the area of this crop was 180 hanegadas (15 ha) in Alboraia and Almássera.

To know more about tigernut history and tigernut crop