CHAPTER ONE 1.0 INTRODUCTION Tigernut (cyperus esculentus) is an underutilized crop which belongs to the division magnolophyta, classliliosida, order – cyperales and family cyperaceae (family) and was found to be a cosmopholitan, perennial crop of the same genus as the papyrus plant of her names of the plant are earth almond as well as yellow nut grass. (Codoemelan, 2003; Belewu and Belweu 2007). Tigernut has been cultivated since early times for the its small tuberous rhizornes which are eaten raw or roasted used as hogfeed or pressed for its juice to make a severage. Non – drying oil (usually called chufa) is equally obtained from the rhizome. (umerie and emebli 1998). The nut was found to be rich in myristic acid, oleic acid, lin oleic acid. In Egypt, it is used as a source of food, medicine and perfumes (De varies, 1991). Tigernut is commonly known as earth almond, chufa and chew – fa and Zulu nuts. It is known in Nigeria as Aya in Hausa, Ofio, Imumu in Yoruba and Akiausa in Igbo where three varieties (black, brown and yellow) are cultivated. Among these only two varieties because of its inherent properties like its bigger size, attractive colour and flesher.
The yellow variety also yields more milk upon extraction, contains lower fat and more protein and possess less anti – nutritional factors especially polyphenols (Oladele and Aina, 2007). Tigernut can be eaten raw, roasted, dried, baked or be made into refreshing beverage called Horchata De Chufa or tigernuts. Tigernut milk is a very nutritive and an energetic drink both for young and old. It is a tremendous high in starch, glucose and proteins. Also rich in minerals like potassium, phosphorus, vitamin E and C. Tigernut milk contain a large amount of oleic acid and is cardiac preventive. (Okezie and Bello, 1998). It defend the internal mechanisms and prevents both constipation and diarrhea. Tigers have long been recognized for their health benefits on the account of their high fibre and sugar contents. Cyperus esculentus (Tigernuts) is a perennial growing to 0.9m (3ft) at a fast rate. It is hardly to zone B. the flowers are harmaphrodise (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by wind (Perera and Hoover 1998).
Suitable for light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil suitable PH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in shade. It prefers moist or wet soil. Edible uses; tuber – raw, cooked or dried and ground into a powder (Juliano, 1992). They are also used in confectionary, a delicious nut – like flavour (Oladele and Aina, 2007) but rather chewy and with a tough skin. They taste best when dried. They can be cooked in barley water to give them a sweet flavour and then be used as a dessert nut. A refreshing beverage is made by mixing and ground tubers with water, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla and ice. The ground up tuber can also be made into plant milk with water wheat and sugar. An edible oil is obtained from the tuber, it is considered to be a superior oil that compares favorably with olive oil. The roasted tubers are coffee substitute (Torrie, 1996). The base of the plant can be used in salad. This probably means the base of the leaf steams.