Yacón……what is it and what do I do with it?

yacon_harvest2008

Well here’s another beauty that has escaped me.  The yacón. (pronounced ya-kon) In the Inca language, yacón means ‘water root’.

Another name for the yacón is Peruvian ground apple.  A perennial tuber grown in the ground, with a taste similar to a cross between celery and a Granny Smith apple and a touch of pear.  This little treat is naturally low in calories and high in fiber….and can’t we all use a little more fiber?  (is it me or does this sound suspiciously like Jicama?)

“The tubers and leaves contain high levels of inulin, a form of sugar humans  cannot easily break down, making it low in calories. Inulin also aids digestion  and promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, while  inhibiting toxic bacteria. Recent research also has found that yacon tubers and  leaves are a good source of antioxidants.”(source)

Yacon_plant_(Smallanthus_sonchifolius)(via)

Yacón also benefits the bacteria in the intestinal tract and colon that boost the immune system and aid digestion, something else we need….digestion! This potential as a dietary aid and as a ‘sweet spot’ for diabetics has led to yacón being grown more widely, and thankfully in America!

Here’s what the Guardian News has to say:

“Yacón has a crunchy texture, slightly reminiscent of water chestnuts, and a sweet flavour, so it’s rather good simply peeled, sliced and eaten as a snack. It’s great in salads too, though its tendency to brown means that you should add it at the last minute, once everything else is assembled and ready to be dressed, or sprinkle with a little lemon juice to prevent it discolouring as it’s peeled (and do peel it, the skin can be a little bitter).

Yacón also has a delightful tendency to absorb sauces and dressings, which make it a fantastic vehicle for other flavours. Try it grated with carrots in a mustardy vinaigrette with a handful of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, or in the traditional South American fruit salad, salpicón. Combine peeled, chopped yacón with chunks of pineapple, chopped papaya and mango and dress in freshly squeezed orange juice and a spritz of lemon.

You could also use yacón instead of apples in a Waldorf salad. Just peel and dice the yacón and toss it in lemon juice to stop it from going brown, then combine it in a bowl with chopped celery, some raisins and walnuts. Dress with mayonnaise thinned with a little sour cream and serve.”

You can purchase yacón in powder or slices HEREOr find it in syrup form HERE.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Yacón……what is it and what do I do with it?

  1. I hope one day we’ll be able to have some of these cool plants here in the states. And yes, yacon DOES sound suspiciously like jicama, which I love. I’ll bet it’d make a yummy slaw.

    Like

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