Tiger nut is a tuber that is grown in the soil. It has a dimension ranging from 6-10 mm and occurs in different varieties. The colour is brown and has a sweet flavor when eaten. Tiger nut has been used extensively mainly for human consumption in Spain (Mason, 2008; Tiger nuts Traders, 2009). Tiger nuts are prepared and eaten cold as snacks. The milk can be extracted, treated and bottled. The flour is used to make cakes and biscuits and the oil is used for cooking (Wise, 2009). In United Kingdom, tiger nut is superb bait for carp fishing (Wise, 2009).
In Nigeria, the utilization of tiger nut is highly limited in spite of the fact that tiger nut is cultivated widely in the Northern part of the country. Tiger nuts are eaten raw mainly as snacks or fried and eaten mixed with roasted groundnuts (Abaejoh et al., 2006).
Kofi (1990) reported that sweetened tiger nut extract are bottled and sold in Ghana.
Recently, there is awareness for increased utilization of tiger nut (Belewu and Abodunrin, 2006; Belewu andBelewu, 2007; Ade-Omowaye et al., 2008; Ukwuru et al., 2008). Tiger nuts are valued for their highly nutritious starch content, dietary fibre and carbohydrate (Umeneand Enebeli, 1997) and are rich in sucrose (17.4-20.0%), fat (25.5%), protein (8.0%) (Kordyias, 1990; Temple et al., 1990). Tiger nut is also rich in mineral content such as sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and traces of copper (Omode et al.,995; Oladele and Aina, 2007). The dietary fibre content of tiger nut is effective in the treatment and prevention of diseases such colon cancer, coronary heart diseases, obesity, diabetes and gastro-intestinal disorders (Anderson et al., 1994).
Tiger nut tubers are diuretic and can be used as stimulant and tonic (Chopral et al.1986) and in the treatment of flatulence, indigestion, diarrhea, dysentery and excessive thirst (Chevalier, 1996). In addition, tiger nut has been demonstrated to contain higher essential amino acids than those proposed in the protein standard by FAO/WHO (1995) for satisfying adult needs for protein (Bosch and Alegna, 2005). Researchers have developed phyto milk of acceptable quality from tiger nut tubers (Abaejo et al., 2006; Ukwuru et al., 2008). Possible industrial application of tiger nut tubers has also been investigated (Oderinde and Tahir, 1988).