provides a good supply of a food source in the colder months. We dig up some to eat and re-plant some for next year’s crop. One of those ‘easy-care’ perennials which continue year after year with no care unless we want to. The clump keeps getting bigger.
Yacon is in the daisy family and has flowers like small sun-flowers on long stems. They are a bit similar to Jerusalem artichokes [in more ways than one]. For exact identification, it’s called Smallanthus sonchifolius.
All are quite large plants so back of a garden bed or in an unused place where they can grow and multiply is best. They can sprawl up to 2m up and out. We tie them back when they get too straggly.
They produce 2 types of tuber
1/ A food storage tuber which is long, roundish and smooth skinned. Crisp like an apple; not so sweet yet can still be enjoyed eaten raw in slices [peeled] or cooked [see below].
2/ A small knobbly tuber with ‘eyes’ [like potatoes] which will sprout to form a new clump. These are the tubers to replant.
How can we use these tubers?
Wash the smooth, rounder tubers well.
I use a brush in water and the outer skin rubs off easily when the tubers are fresh. For older, stored tubers, the skin becomes harder so I peel them instead.
Some recipe ideas
- Slice and stir fry with other favorite veg and a tasty sauce.
- Add to curries, stews, casseroles
How to eat Yacon – and enjoy it!
At the start of each new season, use just a little yacon mixed in with a lot of other veg – and build up slowly. This gives our digestive systems time to adapt and digest the food better. Otherwise they can have the same effects as Jerusalem Artichokes – hard to digest so by-products include gas – uncomfortable! [For you and your friends.]
Give your digestive system time to adapt – it makes all the difference to enjoyment of the crop!
Best wishes for you and your garden!