Valencian Tiger nuts (Cyperus esculentus L. var. Sativus Boeck.), need a constant temperate range and a humid climate. The ideal soil should be spongy, loose and well levelled, with a constant water supply throughout the entire growing cycle applied with flood irrigation through the land furrows. These conditions are given perfectly in the northern countryside region of Valencia, and especially in Alboraya where we grow our tiger nuts and following different stages.
Step-by-step how we grow
We plant our organic tiger nuts between mid-March and mid-April. With a mechanical seeding machine of little weight, we form ridges of 15 to 20 cm in height with a distance of 55 to 60 cm between them. At the same time as these are formed, the machine buries the tuber at a depth of about 4-8 cm from the ground surface with a separation between seeds of approximately 10 cm. The planting density is usually high, 50 kg of tiger nuts are required per acre.
The production process of Valencian organic tiger nuts is lengthier and more laborious than that of the conventional tiger nuts because its cultivation is free of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers obtained from chemical synthesis.
We use organic compost and green manure during the fallow time year to increase the soil’s fertility.
The harvest starts when the leaves part of the tiger nut plant dries out. We respect the natural cycle of the crop and do not use any product to accelerate this process. The right moment depends on the weather conditions, but it is usually between the months of November and January. First, the aerial part of the plant is burnt and later, a harvester breaks down the soil and picks up the tiger nut tubers from underneath the ground.
As soon as the tiger nuts are harvested, they are taken to the washing facilities to clean the tiger nuts from soil, ashes and crop remains. Being organic tiger nuts, they are the first of the day to be washed with the facility completely clean, to avoid any possible mixing with conventional product.
In this process, the full harvest will go through three washing drums, where the tiger nuts lose their roots, their skin is cleaned and the defective tubers are eliminated. Once clean, they are taken to our natural drying chambers.
The drying of the tuber is the most important part of the process, where the curing takes place. The harvest comes with 50% moisture to our facilities and we carefully bring this down to less than 11%. It is this during the process of gradual slow drying that will give a balanced flavour to the tiger nut, with its characteristic natural sweetness. This is the only way to get a truly special Valencian tiger nut, with an irresistible taste.
After 4 to 6 months of drying, a period in which the tiger nuts are aerated and turned daily, they are dry and ready for the final cleaning and sorting.
In Chufas Bou we have the largest indoor drying facilities in the sector, more than 8,000m2 that allow us to obtain tiger nuts of exceptional quality.
The process ends by cleaning and sorting the dried tiger nuts with our machinery equipped with the latest technology to eliminate impurities that may remain from the field. A final manual selection is performed as a guarantee to obtain a product ready to be packaged and shipped.