yacon. yakon.

Yacon from Bauko, Mt Province. This was one of the vegetables we had to google before tasting. The farmers regularly offer items we had never heard of and since we want to encourage diversity, we always try. Meaning “water root” in the Inca language, it turns out this tuber is quite the rockstar. Filled with fructo-oligosaccharide and dietary fiber, the former gives you sweetness without being absorbed into your system as sugar; the latter promotes great gut health. Diabetics and probiotics unite!

What does it taste like? Kinda like a sweet singkamas. It is also forever crunchy. How to enjoy? It’s really good raw, so just peel and slice. They oxidize easily though so have some citrus juice ready to spritz or include in the salad dressing. Whenever my mom asks for green apple for juicing I would suggest this instead. Beyond that, anything that calls for singkamas could use this I believe. It absorbs most flavors and its sweetness is not cloying.

Delivery-wise we struggle a little because roots can arrive as small as a baby’s fist to as large as Ernest’s arm so it can totally throw off our tampipi plans. But it’s such a great investment! Apparently it’s a perennial so for as long as the farmer cares for the plant, s/he can harvest every year. The plants are tall and the leaves are edible too (though we haven’t tried)! We definitely want this one in our roster for climate change. With all its health benefits too, you feel like the Earth holds for us a first aid kit.

Nutritional Benefits
A preferred source of sweetness among diabetics and those watching their sugar intake, yacon has natural sugars that act as prebiotics. These sugars, known as fructooligosaccharides, are difficult to break down in the body, which helps digestion and promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. It is also high in fiber and moisture content, and makes for a great low-calorie snack.

Store and Prep
Keep in cellar-like conditions, such as a cool, dark and dry corner of your home, which root crops enjoy.
Peel off the brown skin with a paring knife or vegetable peeler.

Top Tip!
When yacon is exposed to the air, it discolors quickly, so a squeeze of lemon or other citrus can help to slow the process down.

Fan of Fermentation?
Yacon is great for kimchis and other pickled delights because of its sugar content. You can also ferment it to make wine, soda, and vinegar!

Eat and Drink
Yacon is delicious simply peeled, sliced, and snacked on
Shred or chop, then add to salads and slaws
Sweeten your juices and smoothies naturally
Slice thinly and use as singkamas sub in lumpia and wraps
Poach or bake like apples or pears in desserts
Stir-fy with garlic and  leafies or green beans
Use as labanos substitute and simmer in sinigang
Use like sweet potato and add to hearty stews and curries

Yacon Kimchi
Upo Yacon Masala
Yacon Salad
Yacon Syrup

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