What is Yacon?

Yacon is a plant native to Peru that produces sweet tubers that resemble yellow sweet potatoes.

Yacon is an interesting plant native to Peru, which produces sweet tubers that are slightly reminiscent of the yellow sweet potato. It’s only recently that people outside of South America have become interested in yacon, and now you can find the tuber somewhere in Europe and the United States. Some time ago, Japan also started to cultivate the tuber and it became popular in dishes like tempura.

Yacon is sweeter than honey.

Tubers can be eaten in a variety of ways. They can be baked, boiled or steamed or eaten raw, and many people think they have a slight apple flavor. In addition to being tasty, they also have a unique element that makes them attractive as food.

Yacon tubers are sweet and crunchy when raw, but they contain a special sugar that humans don’t metabolize well. This sugar is called inulin or oligofructose. The special sugar in yacon can be used to sweeten products for people with diabetes because it does not raise blood sugar levels. In fact, you can now buy yacon syrup at some health food stores and on the Internet.

Available at health food stores, yacon can be used as a natural sweetener in things like homemade juices.

Many people compare syrup to molasses or honey, except most find it even sweeter. It needs to be substituted carefully in recipes and used sparingly, or foods made with it may taste overly sweet. Some people prefer this syrup as a sweetener to things like processed sugars. Vegans who avoid refined sugars and don’t eat honey because it’s produced from bees may especially enjoy having this naturally produced sugar substitute.

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Diabetics can use yacon because it does not raise blood sugar levels.

You certainly don’t need to think of yacon as just being used in syrup. Since growers started producing this tuber outside of South America, chefs and amateur cooks have responded with countless recipes for its use. Curry can be excellent with additions of chopped or grated yacon, and the tuber also lends itself well to use in salads. An interesting recipe is a Waldorf salad that combines carrots, walnuts, raisins and grated slices of tuber with mayonnaise dressing.

There are also some nutritional benefits to eating yacon. It is considered a nutraceutical by some people because of its low sugar content, which can not only be a good sugar substitute for diabetics, but can also reduce the risk of diabetes. In addition, it can promote good digestion. As a food, it is eaten primarily for flavor. It doesn’t have a lot of calories, but it’s also not an excellent source of protein, fiber or vitamins.

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