Yacon – apple of the earth

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Wonder crop from Andes, yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius), is closely related to sunchokes and sunflowers. It can grow to 2m but mine only reached about a meter. It’s supposed to be hardy but it likes regular watering and is not as prolific as sunchokes. There’s a good description of it on https://www.greenharvest.com.au/Plants/Information/Yacon.html.

I grew mine in a big wicking pot but will probably release a few plants into the ground this year. Roots were ready to harvest by the end of June and they tasted like a cross between a watery apple and a sugarcane. Very unusual for a root crop.

yacon-copy

They have two types of roots – knobbly purple rhizomes that are used for propagation and long brown tubers that can be eaten. They don’t keep well and need to be eaten soon after digging out. I usually peel them and eat them raw.

It’s November and all the rhizomes I propagated sprouted new leafs. Let’s see how hardy they are…

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About Barb Susac

Art - mainly mixed media, weaving and stained glass. Also adventures in permaculture and sustainability in the harsh reality of Western Australia. Seed saving, plant propagating, perennials, wildcraft and gardening.
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