With the trend towards vegetables, new varieties are also conquering the market. A name you’ll hear more often in the future is yacón.
In South America, yacón is a popular and traditional edible plant. As it was not sold in the EU for years and has only been officially available for around five years, it took the tuber some time to filter through to our part of the world.
Related to the Jerusalem artichoke, the tuberous roots of the yacón are even juicier. The vegetable is also known as a ground apple owing to its sweetness. Or “poire de terre” (ground pear) in France.
Yacón can be eaten raw or cooked. As with many vegetables, the easiest way to cook them is to roast them with oil and salt. However, they can also be added to curries.
Up until now, it has mainly been gardeners who have enjoyed these tubers. However, local vegetable farmers are now becoming more innovative and open to new finds. So it was no surprise to hear Stefan Brunner from Brunner Eichhof in Spins (Canton Bern) say: “I first tried to grow yacón two years ago. I’m going to cultivate it again in 2019”. Brunner delivers to lots of top Swiss chefs and will no doubt inspire them to take a chance on these Inca roots.
Incidentally, yacón is also known as a sweetener – the juice is made into syrup. The tubers contain inulin, a polysaccharide that is high in fibre and lower in calories than sugar. Yacón syrup is also suitable for diabetics.