Growing, Storing and Eating Yacon

A small tuber received as a Father’s Day gift and planted in an uncultivated part of the allotment grew to a height of half a metre and produced daisy like flowers. Not fed and surrounded by pumpkins I dug the plant up a couple of days ago prior to the frosts, to find huge tubers, one the size of a massive potato.

Also known as the Peruvian Ground Apple this non-invasive plant clearly grows well in the UK although the red growing tubers should be raised and stored over winter. Care should be taken to keep them cool but away from frost and not allowed to dry out. A larder would appear ideal. The tubers are then planted after the last frosts in rich soil and, if cared for correctly with fertiliser, can grow well over 1m in height and produce an abundant harvest. It is not unusual to produce 2kg tubers.

The Yacon has well documented health benefits, apparently low in calories, and is incredibly versatile in its culinary use.

The tubers have two skin layers that should be removed first although boiling for a short time will loosen them and make them easier to remove.

I pulled turnips and sweet potato at the same time so I will mix some of the Yacon in the vegetable roasting tray.

Other uses I have found include using it raw, slicing it thinly and adding to salads, adding it to the juicer, and even making a syrup as a sugar alternative. The eating tubers will gradually dry out over the winter so consumption is advised in the next six weeks.

Mike – 30 November 2016