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Chufa, Cyperus esculentus var. sativus was one of humanity’s earliest foods, originating in Egypt and spreading throughout southern Europe and the middle east. Chufa is also commonly known as tiger nut or earth almond. It is a sedge that forms clusters of small propagative tubers. Closely related to the invasive Yellow Nut Sedge but with different growth and reproductive characteristics. It rarely produces seeds and dies back every winter in areas that experience freezing temperatures. Very fast growing, producing copious amounts of marble-sized vegetable tubers that taste somewhere between sweet almonds and hazelnuts but it is not considered a nut
Three Chufa tuber sprouts were transplanted into a livestock mineral tub filled with 50/50 coarse sand and compost. This was watered regularly throughout the summer. The plants increase by rhizomes sent out around the base of each, creating more top growth and tubers.
Shortening day length signals the Chufa plant that it’s time to wrap it up for the year. The grassy tops begin to whither and die. When they’re dead and brown, it’s time to harvest the Chufa tubers.
Breaking off in clumps, the soil is washed away, revealing the nice size tubers. These are separated from the grassy parts and laid out to dry. Published materials recommended growing in sandy soil to facilitate the ease of washing the tubers after harvest.
Chufa is known for producing the most biomass of nutritious food for the area required to grow it. This many tubers from three tubers planted in just a little over three months.
Along the Elderberry Way but before actually creating my Super Smoothie as it is today, I was all into nut and grain milks of all kinds. I remember seeing this video about a popular Nut Milk making device in Europe, ChufaMix, and it’s what got me interested in learning about Chufa. I had no clue what a Chufa was but learned by watching other videos and online research.
Sadly I learned there was not a ChufaMix supplier in the US at the time but they were and are still available through Amazon. There are two price options, the lesser has a plastic pulp press versus the high end model with a wooden pulp press. The only drawback if there is one, it requires an immersion blender, not included, to use as instructed but can serve as a strainer with the pulp press if you have a quality blender that will turn raw materials into very fine particles like the Vita-Mix and most all other powerful blenders. This is especially helpful for those who don’t like anything gritty feeling in their drinks or smoothies
Read about the nutrition aspects of Chufa here. It doesn’t quite fit into my daily routine of making Super Smoothies with Sunflower seeds simply poured into the Vita-Mix but I will occasionally make a batch of Chufa Milk with the Super Tea and use it to make the smoothies. It’s a decadent treat to enjoy occasionally and good to know survival food.
Chufa tubers are often sold as seed for wildlife food plots for deer and turkey, photo above left. They are not for human consumption and are not regulated by human food regulation guidelines. They are dirty, bug eaten and may contain rocks and other debris you don’t want to be making smoothies with but they are good for planting.
Chufa milk is delicious by itself cold without any sweetener. I use it sometimes in oatmeal and cereals. It does thicken when heated and is used in stews and gravies. Horchata de Chufa is one of the most popular drinks in Spain. Add your favorite spices for an exotic treat! It’s so nutritious you could live on it easily in a survival situation. The top food biomass produced by astronauts in space.
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