Yacon is a plant species from the genus Smallanthuswhich grows in South America and has also been cultivated in Germany for some time. The tubers and roots of the yacon plant are rich in water and contain only little sugarwhich is why they are considered a healthy vegetable.
Yacon tubers have a sweet taste reminiscent of pears and can be eaten raw or cooked. The leaves of the plants are also sometimes used as a vegetable, but the roots are the main reason for growing yacon.
In this article, we take a closer look at yacon, its benefits, cultivation and storage. Yacon is not yet very well known in Germany, but it is worth trying it out and integrating it into your diet. Let us surprise you with what the plant can do.
Health benefits of yacon
Yacon is used in the diet because of its edible tubers and its sweet taste with a low sugar content. The yacon tuber resembles a sweet potato on the outside and has a sweet taste. fresh, slightly sweet taste. The tuber is eaten raw or cooked and can also be processed into juice or syrup.
Yacon is particularly important in nutrition, as the root contains many valuable ingredients:
Prebiotic effect on the intestinal flora: A special feature of yacon is that the tubers and roots contain inulin, a soluble fiber that is considered prebiotic and promotes good digestion. Inulin supports the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut and inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. A healthy intestinal flora is important for an intact immune system, good digestion and the absorption of nutrients.
Reduction of the blood sugar level: Yacon contains fructooligosaccharides, which can lower blood sugar levels, but can also increase sensitivity to insulin. Yacon can therefore be particularly beneficial for people with diabetes. The low carb diet has become established as a way of keeping blood sugar levels low.
Weight reduction and appetite suppression: Yacon has a low energy density, contains few calories and a lot of water. It also contains fiber, which ensures a long-lasting feeling of satiety and can therefore reduce the feeling of hunger. The inulin it contains also helps food to be digested more slowly and thus prolongs the feeling of satiety. With a nutrition plan to lose weight succeeds in lose weight easily and without the typical feeling of hunger. The food cleanse was specially developed for weight loss. All meals are low carb high protein, vegan, super tasty and prepared in less than 9 minutes.
Strengthens the immune system: Yacon contains vitamin C, which is important for a strong immune system. Vitamin C promotes the formation of immune cells and helps the body to defend itself against pathogens. Another booster for your immune system are Ginger shots.
Other positive effects: Yacon can also have positive effects on cholesterol levels and thus reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Yacon also has antioxidant properties that can protect against cell damage caused by free radicals. The plants also contain other beneficial nutrients such as potassium, calcium and iron.
Yacon can therefore be a healthy addition to the diet and can be particularly beneficial for people with diabetes or digestive problems. But yacon can also be a varied alternative to conventional vegetables for everyone else.
Use of yacon
Yacon can be used in many different ways:
Raw as a snack: Yacon can be eaten raw as a snack. The tuber is peeled and cut into thin slices or pieces. The taste is sweet and reminiscent of pear or melon.
Preparation in the kitchen: Yacon can be used in many different ways in the kitchen. The tuber can be boiled, steamed, fried or grilled and is suitable as a garnish for various dishes. Yacon can also be used in salads, soups or stews.
Used in the food industry: Yacon is also used in the food industry. The inulin it contains can be used as an ingredient in food supplements or as a sweetener, as it contains little sugar but tastes sweet. Yacon is also popular as an ingredient for dietary products or gluten-free products.
Use in naturopathy: In naturopathy, yacon is valued for its prebiotic effect and its positive effects on blood sugar levels. Yacon can also be used for digestive problems or to support weight loss. Yacon is available as a dietary supplement in the form of capsules or juice.
If you would like to know more, here is some more information on the cultivation and harvesting of yacon:
Origin and distribution: Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) belongs to the Asteraceae family and originates from the Andes in South America, particularly Peru and Bolivia. Yacon has been cultivated and valued there as a useful plant for over 2000 years. The plants are now also cultivated in other countries such as New Zealand, Australia and Japan.
Cultivation and storage: Yacon is a perennial plant with large leaves that can grow up to two meters high. The edible tubers are whitish to yellowish in color and have a bulbous, irregular shape. Yacon is a robust plant that can be grown in almost any garden as long as the soil is well-drained. The plant requires little care and is resistant to pests and diseases. All it needs is sufficient water so that the plant's roots and leaves can develop well. Yacon is still relatively unknown in Germany, but the popularity of this versatile and healthy vegetable is increasing.
Harvest time and method: The harvest time of yacon depends on the climatic conditions and the variety. In Central Europe, harvesting usually takes place in October or November. The tubers are dug up carefully as they are fragile and can be easily damaged. After harvesting, the tubers must dry for a few days before they are stored or further processed. Storing the tubers is relatively easy, they can be stored in a cool and dry place for several months, similar to potatoes.
Yacon is a root tuber from South America that is valued for its prebiotic effect and positive effects on blood sugar levels and the immune system. Yacon can be eaten uncooked as a snack or used in a variety of ways in the kitchen. Yacon is also used in the food industry and in naturopathy. It is also easy to grow in the home garden and the leaves can be used as a tasty vegetable.
The importance of yacon in the diet is expected to increase further. Particularly in times of rising diabetes and obesity rates, yacon could gain in importance as a natural sugar substitute or supportive measure for weight reduction.
Frequently asked questions about yacon:
Is yacon the same as sweet potato?
No, yacon and sweet potato are different plants. Although both are root tubers and are used as vegetables in the kitchen, they belong to different plant families and have different properties.
What can you do with yacon?
Yacon can be prepared and used in a variety of ways. Here are some examples:
Raw as a snack: Yacon can be eaten raw, similar to carrots or apples. To do this, the root is peeled and cut into thin slices or pieces. The slices have a crunchy texture and a refreshingly sweet taste. Yacon can also be added to a salad to give it a sweet note.
Baked or grilled: Yacon can also be baked or grilled, similar to potatoes or sweet potatoes. To do this, the root is cut into thin slices or pieces and marinated with oil and spices to taste. It is then baked or grilled in the oven or on the barbecue until it is soft and crispy.
As a syrup or powder: Yacon can be made into syrup or powder to serve as a natural sugar substitute. The syrup has a caramel-like flavor and can be used to sweeten tea, coffee or desserts. The powder can be used as an ingredient in smoothies, muesli or baked goods.
In the food industry: Yacon extract and powder are also used in the food industry as a natural sweetener or fiber additive.
In naturopathy: Yacon is used in naturopathy due to its prebiotic effect and its positive effects on blood sugar levels.
Can yacon be eaten raw?
Yes, yacon can be eaten raw. In fact, yacon is often eaten uncooked as a snack as it has a refreshingly sweet and slightly sour taste, similar to a mixture of pear and melon.
To eat yacon, it simply needs to be thoroughly washed and peeled, as the skin is hard and inedible. It can then be cut into thin slices or pieces and eaten straight away. Alternatively, yacon can also be grated and used as an ingredient in salads or smoothies.
There are also many other ways to use yacon in the kitchen, e.g. as an ingredient for soups, stews or gratins, as a garnish for meat or fish dishes or as an ingredient for desserts and baked goods.
Why was yacon banned for a long time?
Yacon was not really forbidden, but was neglected and underutilized for a long time, especially in Europe and North America. This is mainly due to the fact that, until recently, yacon was only grown in the Andean regions of South America and was therefore hardly available for the global market.
However, there are also reports that yacon was banned in colonial times in Peru and other parts of South America, as it was considered food for slaves and the poor by the Spanish conquistadors. Later, yacon was also used as a medicinal plant by the Incas, which led to the plant being suppressed during the colonial period.
Nowadays, however, yacon is becoming increasingly important due to its health benefits and unique taste and is grown and consumed in many countries.