Yacon The Earth Apple
Yacon is one of my most favourite plants to grow, as it’s one that just keeps giving. Yacon is also known as the earth apple or pear. This is because it tastes more fruit like than vegetable and grows in the earth.
Yacon originates from South America, but grows really well here in West Wales in the UK. I describe her as the plant that just keeps giving because you can harvest the leaves to dry out and use as a tea. In Peru they call it happy tea. She has beautiful sunflowers and beneath the ground you get the very large tubers that are like a long potato, with the texture of a water chestnut and the sweetness of an apple or pear. The other gift is that you get her babies for next year in the crown. A bit like dahlias, you put the dry crown in dry compost, and when the babies start sprouting the following spring you can separate them into individual plants.
Each plant gives around three to four kilos of tubers at harvest! I always wash the tubers and leave them for about three weeks for the sugars to convert. After this time they are so delicious you can eat them raw. Some people find the skin bitter and prefer eating them peeled. You can eat them raw, juice them and reduce this down into syrup (three plants give you around 250ml of syrup) or chop thinly and dehydrate into crisps.
The tubers are full of inulin, which means the sugars aren’t digested so you can make a sweet syrup suitable for diabetics, and it also means the tubers are brimming with pre-biotics to feed your good gut bacteria.
Check out the video below to follow my yacon harvesting journey: