Tuber – Yacon Harvesting

Late September into October is the time to be harvesting your Yacon.
Dig deep! the roots go down a long way! Don’t worry if you break one or two on the way you can use these first.
remove all the tubers from the root. make sure you keep the stem of the plant with the hard core around the base of the stem, this is your new plant for next year.

Wash the tubers and leave them to dry in a greenhouse or shed, you can eat them now but they will develop sweetness over a couple of weeks. Consumed straight from the ground, they will be crisp and crunchy a bit like watermelon but not sweet at all.

If storing put it in a cool dry place away from mice!! No need to exclude light as they don’t ‘go green’ like potatoes. As the tubers do not have ‘eyes’ (growing points) they will store for a long time.

Uses – raw in salads and fruit salads, cooked – roasted like sweet potatoes or make ‘Yacon’ syrup, a low-calorie sweetener (see recipes).

Spuds, spuds and more spuds

A few hints and tips on choosing and growing your potatoes.

1) Choose certified seed potatoes, don’t be tempted to use those bought in the supermarket, they may look good but can contain hidden diseases which although do not affect the eating qualities will certainly affect the growth. Seed potatoes will have been specially grown and inspected for very very low levels of disease.

2) Decide how much room you have to devote to growing them. If it is only a small space, or you are growing in pots or containers, choose First earlies. These will give you a crop in 10-12 weeks! They are the delicious new potatoes and most are waxy (do not break up on boiling) unless you leave them in the ground too long!
Dig and eat once they start flowering. Second earlies take a little longer to grow giving a bigger crop and many of our delicious salad potatoes fall into this category. Maincrop potatoes are the ones for storing, they need to grow for 18-24 weeks and therefore use valuable space for a long period, only grow if you have the room!

3) Chitting – the act of getting the potato tuber to shoot. Must be done in a cool, LIGHT place, not under the bed! Essential with First Earlies, not so important with the rest.
More to follow in the next blog, including what varieties to choose.