The New Black – Healthy Energy Snacks

There is nothing new except that which is forgotten

Marie Antoinette

tiger nut image

I have chosen a History Girls favourite to launch this series combining modern food trends with historical recipes. The demand for reduced sugar, healthy snacks continues to rise; as does the use of dried fruits, nuts and seeds within the diet and exercise industry. In the vein that nothing is new, let me introduce you to the original energy snack.

Ancient Egyptian Tiger Nuts

Tiger nut illustration

Consisting of a mix of dried fruits, almonds, honey and sometimes sesame seeds, Tiger Nuts date back to 1400 BC. They are named after the edible tuber of Cyperus grass, a commonly used plant native to ancient Egypt. The ingredients can be found engraved into stone tablets of the era and are referenced in the Old Testament story of Joseph and his eleven brothers. Many components of this simple recipe were expensive food stuffs at the time; with honey revered as a food of the Gods and only available to the extremely wealthy.

A few food facts

  • Dates are high in dietary fibre, iron, potassium and contain good levels of vitamin A.
  • Figs contain soluble fibre, potassium, magnesium, iron and are excellent sources of vitamins A, E and K.
  • Almonds are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids – which can be helpful in lowering bad cholesterol levels – and supply you with healthy Vitamin E and B-Complex vitamins.

tiger nuts image 3The Recipe

The secret of these goodness packed little mouthfuls is their simplicity. The ingredients are not cheap but you can make quite a lot in one batch and store them almost indefinitely in an air tight container. They never last long in our house though!

  1. 250g dried dates
  2. 100g ready to eat figs
  3. 75g sliced or chopped almonds
  4. Honey to bind
  5. Toasted sesame seeds to coat (optional)

tiger nut image 2Rough chop the dates and figs and combine with the almonds in a large bowl. Squeeze in a small amount of honey and use your hands to bring all of the ingredients together. Add more honey as you need to but try not to make the mixture overly sticky. Form small amounts into balls about the size of a walnut, pressing together with your fingers and rolling between the palms of your hands as you go.

Lay out onto a baking tray and leave to air dry overnight. Pack away and store in a cool, dry place.

Cinnamon, cumin, coriander or aniseed can be added by those who wish to spice things up and they are also quite delicious rolled in toasted sesame seeds.