My first encounter with yacon tuber was on last February 2010 but I never saw the real tuber. I saw the processed product instead, yacon juice and tea. The products was on display in Food and Nutrition Research Institute, FNRI-DOST, booth. I was not interested so I never bought any.
Last week, she brought some yacon tubers. She said that it is delicious and nutritious. It is eaten raw, just remove the peel and cut to thin slices.
The underground fruit is similar to cassava, elongated but have a smoother texture. I got one and did what she instructed. The texture is very similar to singkamas, crunchy and juicy. The color is uneven: pale green, brown, white and yellow. The taste is blunt and slightly astringent. The smell is slightly grassy. I managed to ate the whole tuber though.
I did some googling and found out that this tuber is characterized by its sweet taste. Some even say that juice can be extracted and processed to syrup. A healthier alternative to white sugar. This contradicts my first taste test.
As I continue reading articles, one instructions said that fresh yacon tuber should be stored for ten days before eating. The ten days storage period will allow the development of its full flavor potential.
Its been more than a week since she bought the yacon tuber. I got another yacon and peeled it again. The color became light orange, the taste became sweet and more juicy and the grassy smell was gone. I peeled the remaining yacon and eat them all.
Yacon is becoming popular for its claimed health benefits. Some of them are:
1) The tuber contain fructose that leave the human body undigested. Does not raise blood sugar.
2) Contains antioxidant.
3) Fights cancers.
4) High in fibers and probiotics.
5) Contains essential nutrients: iron, calcium, sodium, potassium, carotene, magnesium, Vitamin A, Vitamins B1, B2 and Vitamin C
6) Helps cure kidney problems, obesity, hypertension, constipation, hypertension, arthritis and insomia
7) It has 60% to 70% inulin responsible for maintaining blood glucose.
Yacon juice is extracted from tubers while yacon tea is prepared from air dried leaves.