TIGER NUTMILK: A HEALTHY SOFT DRINK
Traditionally, it has been considered as a simple soft drink. However,
the tigernut milk - even more than delicious – is a healthy
drink with plenty of nutrients, which turns it into a nourishing
and energetic product recommended by experts for drinking it at any
season of the year, and specially in summer when we are exposed to
a bigger amount of use.
“Rich in calcium, fresh, avoids flatulencies, strengthen
the entrails, eases colics off, causes the urine and the menstruation
and it is beneficial against vertigo and headaches, it is used in
mouth and gum ulcers for mouthwashes”. That was said by Dr.
Pío Font in his book Spanish Flora published in the middle
XIX century. Nowadays, this drink it is not appreciated as a medicinal
food but experts in nutrition recommend it because of its nutritional
values and its refreshing power as opposed to the wear and tear of
MORE THAN A SOFT DRINK
Tiger nut milk is not more than a soft drink for a lot of people
but actually it is much more than that. It is a very rich source
of nutrients emphasizing vitamins C and E, and minerals as phosphorus,
magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron ore, even more as starch, not
saturated fats, proteins and some enzymes which help the digestion.
Actually, this drink contains more iron ore, magnesium and carbohydrates
than the normal milk. It has also the advantage of neither containing
any lactose, sugar or proteins of the milk, nor cholesterol. That
is the reason why experts consider it a nutritive and energetic
One of them, a professor of Microbiology in the
de València, Enrique Hernández, stands out the curative
and antioxidant properties of that what some people call “vegetable
milk”. This professor remarks that the vitamin E that the
tigernut milk contains reduces the harmful effects of the “bad
cholesterol” (LDL) produced in our organism, and explains
that its nutritive value is owing to the amount of oleic acid present
in its composition. He says “it’s pretty bigger than
the olive oil’s one” and also says that it’s a
product “recommendable for diabetics” and “ideal
for children, old people and sportsmen”.
HOW IS IT MADE?
The tigernut milk elaboration starts washing the tigernuts, a
tuber with an Egyptian origin very singular for its weather and
land needs, conditions which, in Spain only exist in the Valencian
region named L’Horta Nord.
Once they are washed, they have to be soaked by 8 hours and then,
they are grinded. During the process some water is added, in a ratio
of 3 litres of water for each kilo of tigernuts and the mixture
is left to macerate. When the proper time is spent, it is pressed
and sifted and then, the amount of sugar, cinnamon, and lemon peel
wished are added and after the mixture is seeped again. Once this
is done, it is just needed to cool down the mixture. By this way
is obtained a liquid tigernut milk or an iced one, depending of
the temperature to which the mixture has been subjected during the
process. And now it is ready to serve.
TASTE OF TIGER NUT MILK
Each time is easier to find tigernut milk at any season of the
year although it is specially in summer when the supermarket’s
stands are full of different kinds of packages that are manufactured,
recognized and certified by the Regulator Council of the Origin
Denomination of Valencian Tigernut.
That Council says that we can find in the supermarket:
-Natural tigernut milk: It is the one prepared
with the right amount of tigernuts, water and sugar to get a product
with at least 12% of soluble solids, 2’2% of starch, 2’5
of fats, 6’3 de pH and less than 10% of sugar in form of sucrose.
- Pasteurized natural tigernut milk: is the one
submitted to a treatment of pasteurization below 72ºC, with
no adding any additives or technologic fertilizers. Its composition
is the same as the first one.
- Sterilized tigernut milk: is the one obtained
by submitting the tigernut milk into a technological process which
transforms or eliminates totally or partially its contents of starch.
It also must be processed after its packaging with a thermal treatment
which ensures the destruction of microorganisms and the inactivity
of its forms of resistance.
- UHT tigernut milk: is the one submitted to
a process for eliminating the starch and processed by a thermal
treatment UHT which ensures, after its aseptic packaging, the destruction
of any microorganisms and any of its forms of resistance.
- Concentrate tigernut milk: is the one with
the appropriate proportions of tigernut, water and sugar to obtain
a product with, at least, a concentration of dissolver solids of
42% and a 6 pH, which by dissolution with water permits to obtain
a product with the same characteristics than the natural tigernut
- Condensed tigernut milk: it can be pasteurized
(with at least 60% of dissolver solids, 4’2 of starch and
5’4 of fats) or frozen (at least 50% of dissolver solids,
5’4 of starch and 7’2 of fats).
- Powdered tigernut milk: is the one submitted
into a technological process which can eliminate or transform – totally
or partially – its contents of starch in form of particles
or solid granulates, and it is obtained through a drying process
with a less than 5% content of water. Look at the label carefully
and make sure that you buy a suitable product for you. If you choose
the natural one, remember that you have to drink it within 2 or
3 days and once opened the package always has to be kept in the
A digestive drink
Tigernut milk is a healthy and nourishing drink, recommendable
for children and adults. Sugar free tigernut milk is recommended
for those who have a delicate stomach, heavy digestions, flatulence
or diarrhoea. But, obviously, the one with added sugar is not recommended
for those who suffer diabetes or any other ailment in which sugar
has to be controlled.
It is not just made of tigernut
Even though in our country the most popular milk, excluding the
cow one, is the one made of tigernut, there are other made of almonds,
coconut or rice. The one made of almond or rice is made in the same
way as the one made of tigernut. In the case of the coconut, it
is boiled and then water, milk and sugar are added. Each of them
provides the nutrients of each fruit.
A curious story
Once upon a time the king Jaume I of Cataluña and Aragón
arrived to Valencia and a little girl offered him a fresh, white
and sweet drink. Pleased for its taste the king asked the name of
the drink and the girl answered that it was tigernut milk. But Jaume
I corrected her saying “Açò no és llet.
Açò és or, xata” (This is not milk. This
is gold, babe). It is said in Valencia that the name of the drink
(orxata in Spanish) comes from that.
Discovery Health Magazine, nº52