The discovery of bioactive compounds in foods has changed the dietary lifestyle of many people. Cyperus esculentus (tigernut) is highly underutilized in Africa, yet tigernut extract is highly profitable in Europe. This study aims to add value to tigernut extract by revealing its health benefits and food value. In this study, tigernut tubers were germinated or roasted and the extracts were combined with Moringa oleifera extract (MOE) or Hibiscus sabdariffa extract (HSE) and spiced with ginger to produce functional drinks. The drinks were evaluated for physicochemical characteristics, sensory parameters, and antioxidant potentials. The total phenolic content of each beverage was measured by the Folin-Ciocalteu method, and the antioxidant activity of each beverage was determined by the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl and 2,2'-azino-bis-3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid assays. The beverages from the germinated tigernut extracts had the highest titratable acidity and the lowest pH, while beverages containing the roasted tigernut extract had the highest ∘Brix. Germination and roasting significantly enhanced the total phenolic content of the drinks. The beverage containing HSE and germinated tigernut extract had a total phenolic content of 45.67 mg/100 mL gallic acid equivalents, which was significantly higher than the total phenolic content of all other samples. The DPPH inhibition activity of the beverages prepared with germinated tigernut extracts was significantly higher than the DPPH inhibition activity of the beverages prepared with fresh tigernut extract. The taste and overall acceptability of drinks containing the roasted tigernut extract were preferred, while the color and appearance of drinks with the germinated samples were preferred. Roasting or germinating tigernuts before extraction and addition of MOE or HSE extracts is another way to add value and enhance the utilization of tigernuts.
Keywords: Hibiscus sabdariffa; Moringa oleifera; antioxidant; beverages; tigernut.