Organic Gemini has introduced an attractive line of Chufa products

Until recently the use and consumptions of Chufa, also called the tigernut, has been limited to the Mediterranean, but the word of its health benefits is spreading beyond this region.

Despite the name, the tigernut is not really a nut, but an ancient tuber, which is also known as earth-almond, zulu nut, yellow nutsedge and chufa. According to a study by Oxford University, this little tuber that originates in Northern Africa and the Mediterranean played a big part in the diet and survival of our Paleo ancestors in Africa, who lived between 2.4 and 1.4 million years ago. The Egyptians, who brought it with them in the sarcophagi, held the tigernut in high esteem. Today the tigernut is well known in the Southern coast of Spain, where it is consumed as Horchata, a milky drink made with tigernuts, water and a sweetener. Valencia has a perfect climate for the tigernut cultivation. According to the local online news, the city is estimated to produce around 50 million liters of Horchata each year.

Besides from the making of Horchatha the tuber can be enjoyed both raw or cooked or grounded into flour. Because of it’s sweet and slightly nutty taste, it is a perfect gluten-free flour and adds flavor to ice cream and cookies.

Packed with nutrients, the little an oversized wrinkled nut is rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids and fiber, which have both been linked to decrease risk coronary heart disease, according to Dr Melanie Moore of Bath University in a report on the nutritional properties of tigernuts and a comparison with cow’s milk and soya milk. It also contains five times as much iron as beets, and almost twice as much potassium as coconut water. Furthermore the tigernut is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, cobber and vitamin E.

In 2013 George Papanastasatos and Mariam Kinkladze started the company Organic Gemini, the first to introduce the tigernut and the Horchata drink to the US market. Based in Brooklyn, NY their products have been sold only in the East Coast, but from June this year, the line will be sold across the US and soon they will also be available in Europe.

The couple discovered the tigernut when Mariam followed a diet restricted to raw, organic, Non-GMO, gluten-free, and dairy-free foods, as part of a holistic approach to cure her from ovarian cancer. After the cancer disappeared, Mariam and George developed a passion for holistic foods and they decided to spread the word about the tigernut. ”With everything we learned along the journey (to healing), we felt compelled to share this little tuber with the world,” says Mariam.

The tigernut line launched by Organic Gemini includes tigernut flour, granola and oil, besides the tigernut-based Horchata which they offer in eight different flavours: Original, Unsweetened, Chai, Coffee, Banana, Strawberry, Bee Strong and the Green Horchata a new flavor made with broccoli leaf

Organic Gemini sources organic tigernuts harvested in Niger, Africa and imported through Valencia, Spain, where they are sorted, washed and get phyto-sanitary analysis “We ensure that we provide you the best quality Tigernuts available!” says Ludovica Vigliardi Paraviam, the company’s PR representative and Europe Sales Coordinator for Organic Gemini. The firm will be exhibiting at the upcoming Summer Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center in New York, June 28-30.