The first thing people ask when they see me mention yacon is: Do you mean bacon?? The next thing: What do you do with it??
No, I certainly do not mean bacon. I mean yacon, an edible brown tuber native to South America. [How to grow yacon.] As for how we use it, we really like to snack on fresh, raw yacon. That’s the simplest way. But when we start talking about what else to do with it, I’m a rookie. This is still a “new” vegetable to me.
My friend Angela, who started me on my yacon growing journey, brought me a jar of what she called “yacon sauce” when her harvest was at its peak last year, and I’ve been wanting to try making it ever since. With my yacon harvest complete, I had a small abundance of yacon to play with.
Yacon sauce is a replication of applesauce. Since we’re still experimenting with growing apples here, this is a great substitute. Now, be warned. It’s not exactly like applesauce. But, as my son said, “It’s pretty darned good.” Below is my recipe – though it’s not so much a recipe as a method. No matter what you call it, it’s not hard. And if you live in a region that is bereft of apples, yacon might be just the crop for you!
The cooked yacon takes on the flavor of what you add to it; it’s not a very distinct flavor on its own. Consider this a base recipe and play with it a bit. I could see it working well with dried apricots, too, or maybe even mixed with fresh berries.
How to Cook Yacon: Yacon Sauce
- Roughly 8 cups of yacon, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes.
- A handful of organic raisins
- 1-2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- Juice from one lemon
Measure yacon and raisins into a large cooking pot. Add water to a depth of about 1″. Simmer over low heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally. You’ll notice that unlike apples, the yacon doesn’t break down; it remains firm enough that a simple potato masher just won’t do the trick. Use an immersion blender to puree the cooked yacon right in the pot. If you don’t have an immersion blender, allow the yacon to cool and transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until you reach desired consistency. Stir in cinnamon and honey. Chill and serve.
Note: yacon oxidizes very quickly — it’s totally normal for it to turn greyish when exposed to air.
The big question with this is whether or not it can be safely canned. I’ve yet to see a safety-tested recipe for doing so; until then I’ll stick with making it fresh or freezing it.