Sourcing tiger nuts in the UK

Chufas
Valencian chufas

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you might recall that tiger nuts or chufas are the main ingredient for Valencian horchata de chufas. But they’re still a bit of an exotic ingredient in the UK. So you have to go a bit out of your way to get them.

I bought a small amount by the weight in the Central Market in Valencia the last time I visited, and I have been keeping it for an special occasion, but time passes and they must be consumed, least they become stale.

So I am anticipating when I run out of them, and wonder: where can I source tiger nuts in the UK?

My research so far has shown me that you can get them in Holland And Barrett and in Planet Organic (which, for some reason, doesn’t list them online, but I saw them in the shop in Torrington Place). The tiger nuts in these two shops appear to be peeled.

Tiger nuts from Holland and Barrett
Tiger nuts from Holland and Barrett

It seems that you can also order them from Amazon, where there is a lot of variety: peeled vs unpeeled, organic or not. But I’m not sure…

Maybe I’m being a bit of a purist for being suspicious of these nuts of dubious origin and processing. Or maybe I’m just naturally cautious. They can get rancid somewhat easily. I don’t know how peeling them will affect their flavour; i.e. will it remove nice starches for the horchata? Some of the nuts listed in Amazon are advertised as “bigger”, but the big ones are less sweet than the smaller variety that is cultivated in Alboraia (Valencia), which has a protected denomination of origin:

Chufa de Valencia - Consejo regulador denominación de origen
Chufa de Valencia – Consejo regulador denominación de origen

So far I haven’t seen this seal on any of the tiger nuts I’ve found online or in the shops.

I’ve also been trying to get in touch with Spanish sellers but their online operation is “a bit” convoluted: you need to get in touch with them before ordering so they calculate the shipping costs to send outside of Spain, then you can order. And of course this isn’t the best of times to order things and expect a prompt response, as the country is still on an emergency state.

👩🏻‍🔬🧪🔬 In the interest of science, I also tried the “tiger nut drink” from Rude Health a couple of years ago (OK, I’ll admit I was excited to see tiger nut drinks too). It is mixed with rice (I suppose to make it cheaper?) and so the flavour is muffled and it’s not distinctively like tiger nuts at all. If you drank a proper tiger nut horchata before, this drink is quite disappointing 👎🏼

Tiger Nut drink from Rude Health: NAH
Tiger Nut drink from Rude Health: NAH

I think that I will keep researching Spanish tiger nut sellers. If I can’t get any of them to send things to me, I might try getting some nuts from one of the sellers mentioned above, and experiment making horchata with them.

In the meantime, I might spend some time day dreaming about horchaterías and big glasses of icy cold horchata… 😋🥛

Maybe this baby will grow up to be placid, as they're being fed a giant glass of horchata ?
Maybe this baby will grow up to be placid, as they’re being fed a giant glass of horchata ?

Has anyone had any luck buying tiger nuts in the UK and making horchata with them? How did that go?

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