Pam Jenkins, from Diamond Creek, discusses harvesting yacons in both the video and in words.
Yacon are perennial plants, grown as annuals, that are native to Chili and Ecuador. They are part of the sunflower family.
The tubers, which are harvested mid autumn to early winter, are the main crop. In addition, the leaves can be cooked and used as a spinach substitute and the young stems can also be steamed and eaten.
Yacons form two sorts of roots:
- Small, reddish coloured rhizomes close to the base of the plant which are used to propagate the next season’s crop.
- Bigger, brown tubers that are the plant’s storage roots which are harvested for eating.
Yacon can be planted at about the same time as tomatoes and grow slowly until the weather warms up. Over summer, they can grow to about two metres in height, looking similar to Jerusalem artichokes, and may produce daisy-like flowers in late autumn. They are ready to harvest as they start to die back.
I leave mine in the ground until I am ready to eat some then harvest one plant at a time. [Editor: I harvest one tuber at a time.] Don’t leave them in the ground all winter as they will start to shoot as the weather starts to warm.
We cut a tuber into chips, drizzled with olive oil then baked them. When we decided that they were cooked to our satisfaction, we dressed them with lemon juice, salt, pepper and crumbled fetta. Delicious!
There is some good information about yacons on the Green Harvest web site.