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Does anyone have any experience of growing yacon tubers?

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I have been reading recently about 'Yacon Tubers'. These are a staple food for people of the Andes.

Here is a link to some interesting facts about Yacon Tubers. Apparently they are four times as productive as potatoes for the same given space. Glenn
That's a great link for study - thanks, Glenn! Good for diabetics, sweet, high in inulin - very interesting. I have some diabetic friends. I wonder if Sweet Potatoes & Yams are high in Inulin? To be determined ...  Jerusalem Artichokes are also high in inulin & some varieties are sweeter than others. I read that JA crops are a commercial source of fructose. We have quite a few Peruvian people in our community. I will ask some acquaintances if they have grown Yacon Tubers. 
I grew them here in Ann Arbor last year. Tasty and easy: yes! Easy to save offshoots for future: yes! However, it is a LARGE plant that may shade surrounding areas, so for those of us with limited space, trying to grow many types of vegetables, they are not nearly as productive as potatoes for the same space.
Could you quantify "large"? I have never seen a Yacon Tuber plant & I am wondering from the differing reports if YTs normally grow in a less fertile soil & possibly make more foliage if they get more gardeney fertilizer? Now I have to go to Google Images & try for a photo glimpse.  :-)
Yacon is a very beautiful plant and worth growing for the foliage alone. It grows very easily at my place on heavy soil facing north east. I live south of Melbourne Australia and do not have frosts, though I don't think they would be a problem. It is like a big Dahlia ( with tiny yellow daisy flowers)about 1.3 m tall-4 to 5 ft. The foliage degenerates and I cut it down to the ground in winter. My only problem is that I have no idea how to cook it! I have tried slicing it finely and adding it to salads-it adds a good crunch-but apart from that....... It is incredibly productive, so if anyone knows any receipes I would love to try them
Hi Janie Thanks for your reply. Apparently Yacon is Inca for 'Water Root'. I found this further link that gives more info about them. It also gives some recipes at the bottom. The more i read, the more interesting they sound. I,ve just got to locate a local supplier now. Glenn
Hi Janie, how is it going with your yacon? I only just harvested mine last week. I left it in the ground over winter and it came to no harm at all, and harvested because there was a bit of green popping up. Next season's plants were wanting to grow. You want recipes...just google yacon recipes, there is so much on the net, but I turned all mine into syrup, left the story on the blog. Go have a look.
I grew yacon in my Atlanta front yard last year & it's a great plant...think sweet (like a perky apple or pear) water chestnut.After I harvested it... I chilled and then pealed it & ate it. I could eat a lot of this. I obtained a 3gal size 'chunk' of yacon (as u said, like dahlias) from a market grower in athens...smitten, I was for its leaf...& it was different. I want more so I'm going to plant all little tuber-ettes this fall.
How to make Yacon Syrup.  Sorry about the code showing - this happens when you paste a link or message into the Drupal comment box - hello Drupal ... JS@font-face { font-family: "Times New Roman";}@font-face { font-family: "Lucida Grande";}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Lucida Grande"; }table.MsoNormalTable { font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; } Here's a link to a wonderfully informative, photo-illustrated article about making Yacon Syrup. I think the method might work for Jerusalem Artichoke Syrup as well ... Yacon Syrup by Zaia Kendall “... We had an over-abundant supply of yacon that had to be harvested. Yacon (also known as ground apple) grows very easy in our (sub-tropical) climate — one plant produces many rhizomes for division and re-planting. It needs very little attention when in the ground and Tom is of the opinion that it improves the soil where it has grown...”
Hi Jessica I,ve read that the reason it is a good sweetener is that the human gut does not have the enzymes to break down the unusual sugars in Yacon. So it tastes sweet but is not fattening. Glenn
Hi, I just got back from Bolivia where I learned a bit about yacon there. It was completely different from how I've seen it marketed in the U.S. Here, I've seen it sold as a sweetener. When I tasted a freshly sliced piece of yacon in Bolivia, it was slightly sweet, kind of like a sweet-ish version of jicama. I have been posting about what I learned on my trip on my blog at and I'll post a piece that includes what I learned about yacon in a day or two. (I'm going chronologically, so the next piece I'm doing is about coca, and the one after that is an intro to native Andean crops with photos and info on everything.) As a gardener, my take-away from looking at the enormous yacon root we saw in Bolivia is: wow, it would be a pain in the butt to dig up and harvest that! But not impossible, of course. Esp if you have nice, loose soil (I don't).
Hi Jill I enjoyed reading your blog about Bolivia. I like the photo,s of the market, especially the stall with all the kid,s board games. It,s years since i have played 'Monopolio'. I wonder what street names they use? I hope to grow Yacon next year. There is one tuber supplier in the UK. It just depends whether they had a good harvest this year or not. I,ve never eaten Yacon or Jicama so it will be interesting. Things tend to grow large on my allotment garden as i have fine silty soil, so i am hoping for some good crops of large tubers. Looking forward to further interesting posts on your blog. Glenn
Can you harvest throughout the season by digging out bits aorund the sides? We call that bandicooting here, since we have these rodents called bandicoots who dig with their long noses looking for bugs.
The plant was probably about 5 feet tall and perhaps filled an area 5X5 feet and yielded perhaps 3-5 lbs of tubers total. Compared to Jerusalem artichokes in the same sq feet, the yield was perhaps 5% as much--20-fold down. Whether that was just Ann Arbor or what, I couldn't say.
Thanks for noting the 5x5' size! Good to know! I am still wondering if Yakon Tubers are native to lean soils & make more foliage with gardeney fertilizing?
Greetings from New Zealand. I just harvested my first crop (9 plants), and was so impressed I will be planting out an entire row for next season. I have a ton of risomes to put back in the ground. My plants reached about 6 feet, but they went in late in the season. They are going in early this year so should get higher. I found I got a better crop from the ground, not so good from tubs, so I will not use tubs again. I got few flowers, but next season will get more as they will have more time to flower. (I really want to experiment with seeds, and luckily I have lots of bees around here) The leaves are hairy, but I still used them in salads, the flavour is not great, but the nutrition is supreme and that's what counts. Next season I will harvest a lot of leaves and dry them for tea, and crush them into powder to sprinkle on cat food for their health. I just love learning more about how super yacon is on the super food scale, and it's medicinal properties are amazing. You really should NOT waste the leaves, you can do so much with them. I had so much yacon that I ate little, and processed the rest into yacon syrup. It took a whole day. Next season I plan for it to take 3 or 4 days as I will have so many tubers. My syrup came out great, very very happy. It is dark in colour because the fruit oxodises very quickly. Tips to offer: I was not happy with the condition of the pulp, and my juicer is a very good one, but there can be a lot of waste with yacon, that is the nature of the stuff, the pulp contains so much more liquid, so I re-processed the pulp 3 more times till it was really dry. By re-processing the pulp I nearly doubled my yield, and ended up with a much higher ratio of tubers:syrup than all the web sites suggested. Before I started I calculated how much syrup I would get based on other people's yields and thought wow it isn't much really, but re-processing the pulp till dry made a mighty difference, so that's how to do it people. I was very happy with the result :) I can bet you the commercial guys don't throw out soggy pulp! Also, something I will try next season is processing a lot of my tubers into yacon and lemon syrup for golden colour and tangy taste. I will start with a large bowl of lemon juice, and the yacon will go straight into that after it is peeled. The goal is no oxodisation, no dis-colouration, and syrup with a lovely golden colour. Yacon and lemon is expensive to buy so I will make my own. I loved this season, it was my first experience with yacon, but wow I am really looking forward to next season and will get by risomes back into the ground in the next few days.



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