Yacon, the South American superfood tuber that is conquering the world – Italian Cuisine

Yacon, the South American superfood tuber that is conquering the world

Yacon is the sweet yet low-calorie tuber from the Andes that is conquering the world because of its delicious taste and its beneficial properties that make it a superfood in effect.

The yacon, a low-calorie tuber, rich in nutrients, with a pleasant crunchy texture and a rather sweet taste, has all the credentials to become one of the next trends "superfood". Originally from South America, in recent years the yacon has been cultivated and marketed in everything and is particularly popular in the organic sector. More and more are the studies that ascertain its beneficial properties and more and more are also the products based on yacon, as well as the recipes in which it is used.

From the Andes to commercial success

This tuber grows spontaneously in the Cordillera of the Andes, in particular in Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, and for some years it has also been cultivated in the United States, in Brazil, in Argentina, in New Zealand, in Australia and in various parts of south-east Asia . Its marketing has recently increased significantly, just as small-scale production has increased. In supermarkets and grocery stores, mostly biological, yacón can be purchased in the form of syrup, powder, tea or dehydrated slices, but they are also increasingly common yacon based products including cereal or chocolate bars, cereals, vegetable-based protein supplements, superfood powders and capsules and even toothpaste.

What makes this tuber an exceptional superfood

The nutritional characteristics, and in particular its dietary potential, make it yacon a food of great interest, ideal for natural, low-calorie and vegetable-based diets. In particular, the yacon has prebiotic properties, is rich in natural fibers and iron, is able to dampen the sense of hunger and, above all, is a natural sweetener since it is rich in oligofructose, a low-calorie sugar that can fight blood sugar and regulate insulin in the blood.
In short, this good and superfood ingredient is particularly suitable for overweight people, for those suffering from high cholesterol and for those who suffer from digestive irregularities.

How to use the yacon in the kitchen

Beyond the health benefits and the possible intake of this tuber in the form of sweetener or natural supplements, the rediscovery of the yacon and its popularity also regards its versatile use in the kitchen.
The taste of this naturally sweet food it is delicate and juicy and recalls a cross between Asian pear (nashi), apple and a Mexican potato (jicama), while the consistency has been repeatedly associated with that of Chinese water chestnuts.
The yacon it tends to absorb sauces and condiments and can be eaten raw, simply washed and peeled, perhaps cut into thin slices or grated, to be added to fresh summer salads to give a pleasant, refreshing and fruity touch. In this case it is advisable to cover it with a little lemon juice first, to prevent it from blackening too much. For example, the tuber can be grated with carrots and seasoned with sunflower seeds or used instead of apples in the American Waldorf salad or in the traditional South American salpicón salad. The yacon can finally be cut into slices and fried or cooked and added to soups.
Its pleasant sweetness combined with the low calorie content make it finally ideal for tasty and light desserts, such as pancakes, puddings, desserts, or used instead of apples as the main ingredient of cakes and pies.

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