How I grow Yacon:
I just planted two beds of yacon crowns and it’s winter. This is not how it’s recommended, certainly not for Katoomba, but that’s what I am doing for many years now and I get away with it. Normally you would store the crowns in moist sawdust overwinter in a frost-free location. But my yacons always yielded well notwithstanding my crude method. This time, I planted more than last year and in a warmer, sunnier spot. I want more yacons because I like syrup. It’s relatively easy to make and healthy sugar alternative. This is how we did it last year: but I want to improve it a bit and boil it down much further.
Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) is a perennial tuber, it is possible grow it as a perennial vegetable and dig out the tubers as required, growing it on a mound. I haven’t done it this way, but it certainly can be done.
Healthy Yacon Chips:
I turned just one yacon into ‘yacon chips’, simply thoroughly scrubbed, thinly sliced yacons dried on a grid on top of the woodfire. Yacon is a very juicy tuber, so it took about three days to get the chips thoroughly dry, the fire being on and off. The taste: nice and sweet, good for a healthy snack; teenager rating: 9 out of 10. I want more!
Health benefits of Yacon:
Yacon has a huge potential as a health food: it benefits the bacteria in your intestines and is a source of sweetness for diabetics and is also used for people wanting to lose weight. Many people use yacon for its anti-hyperglycemic effects, important for diabetics. Research shows potential that yacon increases insulin sensitivity in the body, yet another beneficial aspect for diabetics.
Yacon is high in potassium, which acts as a vasodilator, meaning that it relaxes blood vessels and reduces strain on the cardiovascular system.
While yacon leaf tea has a positive effect on diabetes, it’s use is controversial, but by all means, do your research!
Yacon crowns are available online: https://mountainherbs.net/products/yacon-crowns-and-bulbs