Growing Chufa Nuts: The Sweet Superfood

A woman is planting Chuffa nuts in her garden. Heritage Hobby Seeds, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.

It’s a mystery to me why these aren’t grown by everyone! Chufa nuts, or earth almonds, are such an easy crop to grow, and they taste so good. In Canada, where growing almonds and coconuts is not possible, this incredible ‘ground nut’ should be more popular. It’s been grown and refined in Europe for centuries and yet for some reason it has not made its way into the Canadian seed marketplace. So let me tell you a little about this wonderful little tuber.

Nutritional Benefits of Chufa Nuts

Chufa nuts are considered a superfood; I won’t descend too much into the details of their nutrient profile, that’s pretty easy to research online, so I’ll highlight just a wee bit of the main health benefits.

High Fibre Content

They’re high in insoluble fibre, have a very good oil content (it ranges from 27% and up), vitamins and minerals and some studies suggest they even have antibacterial properties. I’ll eat them as a snack between meals and the fibre does a great job to hold off my hunger until lunch or suppertime. Aside from being a nutritional powerhouse, there are a lot of other great reasons to grow them.

Taste and Culinary Uses

If you enjoy the taste of almonds and coconuts, you’ll probably like these. I find the flavour of chufa to be a cross between the two, with the chewiness of the coconut. And you’ll definitely be able to grow these because they are so low maintenance.

Flavour Profile of Chufa Nuts

They are distinctly sweet with a depth to their flavour, it isn’t just pure sweetness you taste, there’s a nuttiness too. I would describe them as sweeter than a fresh garden strawberry.

Popular Uses

I see a lot of mention of the famous Spanish drink Horchata when the topic of chufas comes up; chufas are blended to make this famous milky drink in Spain, but I enjoy chufas so much out of hand that I’ve never been tempted to make a drink with them. I just love them freshly dried.

Growing and Harvesting Chufa Nuts

Their high insoluble fibre content means they require lots of chewing though! Chufas need to dry for a little while after harvest to achieve their peak sweetness, and they shrink a little as they do this.

Pre-Planting Preparation

The chufas should be started about a month before planting, and they can be started in pots or in trays and then set out individually. I don’t space them much, and I’ve always had huge harvests, but generally adequate spacing is recommended.

Harvesting Challenges and Tips

It isn’t easy to harvest these in really dense, clay or stony soil – the tubers are about the size of a marble, maybe a bit bigger, and if you have stones in your soil it can be hard to separate the nuts out from the stones in the dirt. Clay can make them hard to see. I use a screen to harvest them, pulling up the grassy clumps and raking them across mesh.

Yield and Replanting

The yields can be truly enormous if you treat them well with water and compost. If you choose your largest tubers for replanting the following season their size can increase quickly year to year. The roots smell distinctly like tiger balm, and this really makes digging them up a wonderful experience. Chufas are also referred to as ‘tiger nuts’, and I wonder if the root smell is the association.

Plant Characteristics

The plants themselves look like tropical grass, reaching about 2 to 2 1/2 feet with stiff, shiny green blades. They’re rather unimposing and stay nice and tidy and compact; a thickly planted short row can yield a lot of tubers.

Washing and Drying

It’s a good idea to wash them well at harvest time as opposed to when you eat them because the dirt washes off so much more easily when they’re freshly dug. I find about 2 weeks of being dried is long enough to bring out the sweetness and be ready for eating.


Chufa nuts a great survival crop because they are so hardy and reliable, nothing seems to prey on them. I have never seen them survive a winter, so they won’t last in the garden season to season like potatoes can – which is unfortunate, it would be great if these were perennials!

Heirloom Chufa Nuts. Ground Almonds. Grown in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Grown Organically. Heritage Hobby Seed Ark.
Chufa Nut Heirloom Seeds Grown in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Grown Organically. Heritage Hobby Seed Ark.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top