Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Yacon - Low calorie sweet like a potato

Another addition to my list, although this normally wouldn't be a houseplant. Yacon can be easily grown outdoors. A great natural low calorie snack food that is actually good for you.

How Sweet It Is…and Healthy too!
Fresh Yacon tubers are crisp and juicy with a delicate flavor reminiscent of apple or melon and a surprising sweetness that increases in storage. They can be eaten raw, (fresh or dried) steamed, baked, roasted, or juiced. The somewhat bitter skin can be scrubbed off with a stiff brush, peeled with a vegetable peeler, or removed after baking. One of our favorite recipes is to simply chop the peeled tubers into bite-size pieces and sauté them in a little butter until the sugar begins to caramelize. Serve with mashed potatoes topped with fresh parsley.

While satisfyingly sweet and flavorful, Yacon remains low in calories. This is due to the fact that the sugar contains high levels of oligofructose (inulin), a form of sugar that is not metabolized readily by the human body. For this reason, Yacon shows much promise as a food for diabetics and as a base for a low calorie sweetener. Even a tea made from dried Yacon leaves is purported to have the ability to level out blood sugar levels. Research on the benefits of Yacon for diabetics is being carried out in Argentina and Japan. Oligofructose is known to aid digestion and promote beneficial bacteria in the colon, so it may also help prevent colon cancer. High in fiber, low in fat, and rich in oligofructose, Yacon is considered by many to be a superfood of the future.

Some other suppliers are Green Harvest (Australian), Organic Centre, and also in Australia- Daleys Fruit.

Another interesting article about Yacon is at Newstarget.


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