Strange New Vegetable: Yacon

published Sep 25, 2008
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Recently I was talking via email with a friend in Texas about her home garden, and she mentioned she had planted something called “yacon.” I thought it was some sort of typo so I inquired, and she confirmed it wasn’t a typo; she really meant “yacon,” and she sent me the link to the seed catalog website. Well, I’ll be darned … there is a vegetable called a yacon.

Yacon is native to Peru and is grown for its tubers, like potatoes and yams. The leaves are edible as well. Apparently the taste is very fruity, and it’s referred to as the “apple of the earth.” However, even though it has a sweet taste, it’s actually low in sugar. Yacon-derived products such as yacon tea and yacon syrup are popular among diabetics.

Yacon is a perennial plant and grows well in most climates, so it’s a snap for home gardeners who wish to harvest their own. Yacon was consumed by the ancient Inca.

(Image: Wikipedia)