Let’s take about the benefits of yacon. This sweet, juicy tuber is packed with vitamins for a healthy immune system but one of its best properties is that it is meant to help with regulating blood sugars. It has a very low GI of 1 (Glycemic Index) which means the carbohydrates in yacon are metabolised and digested slowly which stops the peak in blood glucose levels which regular sugar causes.
Because yacon is sweet and ridiculously juicy, it is a great vegetable to turn into a syrup.
The syrup is made by reducing yacon juice until most of the water has evaporated and you are left with a thick, dark syrup resembling molasses. You need a lot of yacon to make the syrup, in my recipe 4kg yacon makes 250ml syrup, but yacon plants produce easily and plentifully so that’s not a huge issue. I get between 1-2kg of yacon per plant. The bonus is that you can replant tubers from the plant you have just harvested and have an endless supply of yacon!
The yacon plant produces two sets of tubers, the eating ones and the reproducing ones. Once you have harvested your yacon, you can store the reproducing tubers under mulch and compost and they’ll pop back up in spring. If you live in an area with snow or regular frosts, it’s best to store the tubers in damp compost inside a glass house or shed.
In total I harvested just over 4kg of yacon, it came to 4kg exactly once they were peeled and prepped. You can tell how juicy yacon is when you peel it as often the tuber will just snap like ice, as it so water filled.
Then it’s time to blitz up the yacon. I used a blender as opposed to a juicer because my juicer doesn’t extract the same amount of liquid as when I do it manually but if you have an extra good juicer, by all means, do it that way. I got 3 litres yacon juice from my 4kg yacon.
When the yacon is blended it will oxidise quickly and turn green. This is just a visual difference and does not change the taste. The green colour is responsible for the dark, molasses style syrup at the end.
Once the yacon has been blended to a pulp, extract the juice by passing it through a fine sieve, cheesecloth or similar. I used my Onya reusable produce bags for this. This post isn’t sponsored, I just love their innovative, environmentally friendly bags!
Then, bring the juice to a boil, then keep at a rolling simmer for about 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally (increasing the frequency near the end) while it reduces. Scum will start to rise to the top and this can be scooped off with a spoon. Once the syrup has reduced to a consistency of runny honey, pour it into a sterilised jar.
This syrup is sweet, but only about half as sweet as cane sugar or honey so bear that in mind when substituting for sugar. Taste-wise, it has that hint of yacon taste at the end so it’s not a syrup I would use to slather on my pancakes. It makes a great sweetener in dressings, smoothies, coffee and healthy baking.