Yacon – The Uses are Many and Varied [HD video - Harvesting]
About 8 months ago I noticed an interesting looking plant with large furry leaves that had started growing in our garden. It had obviously been planted before we moved in and lay dormant until conditions were just right for it to burst forth from the ground.
The Yacón is still an unfamiliar food plant to many gardeners, but its popularity is rapidly increasing due to it being quite hardy, adaptable to a variety of soils and climates and with a unique flavour.
The Yacón is yet another one of South America’s gifts to the food world. It is a root crop that has an incredibly sweet and crispy tuber that can be eaten raw or be prepared in a multitude of ways. In a sub-tropical climate like ours, we have a long growing season and it can be considered to be a perennial. When we harvested our Yacón, the leaves had started to die off. We made this short video to show you the difference between the edible tubers and the parts of the root that can be divided and replanted to make more Yacon plants!
I couldn’t resist peeling it straight away and tasting it for the first time. It was exactly how it had been described from internet searches I had done – juicy, with a delicate crunch, a sort of ‘underground pear or apple’.
I had also read that it sweetens up after a few weeks in storage, so after a highly anticipated wait, I made a Yacón juice in our new Hippocrates juicer. The tubers from one plant gave us 1 litre of pure Yacón juice (and 8 new plants!). The juice oxidised and turned a browny colour quite quickly, but you can add a citrus juice if you like, so the vitamin C slows down the oxidisation process.
The list of ways to prepare Yacón are almost endless…
- eat it raw
- juice it
- dry pieces in a dehydrator
- simmer the juice to make a sweet yacon syrup which can be used as an alternative to sugar, honey or agave
- put it in a salad
- put it in a sweet fruit pie
- boil it, bake it, fry it or pickle it
How do you prepare your Yacón?