I harvested my Yacon a few days ago. After writing my post about planting Yacon (you can read that here), I learned that a friend of mine is also growing some. When I went to visit her the other day, she asked me if I’d harvested from my plant yet. I hadn’t. Actually, I was debating on just leaving it alone through the winter, which she advised against.
She showed me the nice sized harvest from her many plants, and she even peeled one of the well aged tubers right there and let me have my first taste of Yacon. The taste and texture were very different from any type of tuber I’ve sampled. It had the crunch of a crisp apple, with the mild sweetness of a melon. Very refreshing.
My friend explained that in order to get the best flavor, you must allow the tubers to sit in a somewhat cool and dry (not the fridge) environment until they start to shrivel and look “ugly”. After probing her for how exactly I should go about storing the tubers, and the crown which I will use to grow more plants in Spring, I was confident enough to go home and dig up my own Yacon plant. It had died back completely, so all I had to do was gently pull the plant from the loose soil in its pot.
And here is my first harvest! I was actually quite delighted to have this many tubers in the pot I was growing my plant in. I brushed the dirt from them, and put them in our storage shed where they’ll stay cool while they cure. You can store the crown in slightly moist sand, in a cool, dark place until 2-3 months before your last frost date. I didn’t have any sand, so I just put the crown in a bucket of compost and placed it in a cool (no warmer than about 50*) and dark place. If it starts sprouting, then I may divide the crown and put it in a growing medium in our greenhouse. It’s all experimentation at this point.
I’m excited to have harvested a few good sized tubers of Yacon!! In several weeks they should be sweet enough to enjoy raw.
Do you have any experience harvesting Yacon?