A blog originally for keeping track of my hobby of being a Beekeeper which has evolved to include Home Brewing and even more recently to follow me and my families approach to "The Good Life". Eventually I hope to include baking recipes and stories of our flock of chickens also reporting on the success and failure at the allotments.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Yacón Planted

Yacón is another South American crop that I am attempting to grow this coming season. In some respects it is similar to oca, which was the subject of my last post, in that it also is a tuber with a long growing season and is from South America. That is not the reason I am growing this crop. The first reason is the same as why I grew oca and that is that I'm fascinated by these plants and they do make a good talking point as most people haven't heard of them before but the main reason I am growing this is the reported health benefits.

Yacón's tubers are the edible bit of the plant and are described as being very sweet and juicy if eaten raw, although they can also be cooked in any way a potato can. It is what happens once it is eaten that interests me. Yacón's main storage carbohydrate is different to potatoes in that it is primarily made of a substance called inulin.

Looking at the Wikpedia entry on inulin there are quite a few benefits of having it in your diet with only one down side that I will mention later. The main benefit to me is that the body doesn't accept inulin the same as sugars and starch so that it passes through our gut without absorption. On its way through it does feed friendly bacteria and helps us absorb calcium along with magnesium. It's also listed as a source of soluble fibre.

That's the good points.... The bad point is not so much bad but more unpleasant, or at least potentially unpleasant! The reason for this is that while it feeds friendly bacteria it also can cause the overgrowth of methanogenic bacteria, which as the name hints are the ones that produce methane and make your bottom burp! I personally don't see this as a major problem as I doubt we will produce enough of it for it to be a regular addition to the dinner plate and also the good aspects far outweigh the potential embarrassment of a little trump now and again.

In the photo below the growing tips are on top of moist compost. After the photo was taken I pushed them into the compost and have now left them and with a little luck they will start to grow in spring

Yacon