Homemade yacon syrup is a sweet healthy alternative to refined sweeteners. Packed full of vitamins and minerals.
Let's talk about the benefits of yacon. This sweet, juicy tuber is packed with vitamins for a healthy immune system but one of its best properties is that it is meant to help with regulating blood sugars. It has a very low GI of 1 (Glycemic Index) which means the carbohydrates in yacon are metabolised and digested slowly which stops the peak in blood glucose levels which regular sugar causes.
Yacon syrup isn't suitable for people who follow a FODMAP diet as it contains a large amount of soluble fibre that can cause digestive issues if you're not used to it. Read more about that here.
Because yacon is sweet and ridiculously juicy, it is a great vegetable to turn into a syrup.
The syrup is made by reducing yacon juice until most of the water has evaporated and you are left with a thick, dark syrup resembling molasses. You need a lot of yacon to make the syrup, in my recipe 4kg yacon makes 250ml syrup, but yacon plants produce easily and plentifully so that's not a huge issue.
I get between 1-2kg of yacon per plant. The bonus is that you can replant tubers from the plant you have just harvested and have an endless supply of yacon!
The yacon plant produces two sets of tubers, the eating ones and the reproducing ones. Once you have harvested your yacon, you can store the reproducing tubers under mulch and compost and they'll pop back up in spring.
If you live in an area with snow or regular frosts, it's best to store the tubers in damp compost inside a glass house or shed.
In total, I harvested just over 4kg of yacon. You can tell how juicy yacon is when you cut them, as often the tuber will just snap like ice, as it is so water-filled.
Then it's time to blitz up the yacon. I used a blender as opposed to a juicer because my juicer doesn't extract the same amount of liquid as when I do it manually but if you have an extra good juicer, by all means, do it that way. I got 3 litres of yacon juice from my 4kg yacon.
When the yacon is blended it will oxidise quickly and turn green. This is just a visual difference and does not change the taste. The green colour is responsible for the dark, molasses-style syrup at the end.
Once the yacon has been blended to a pulp, extract the juice by passing it through a fine sieve, cheesecloth or similar.
Then, bring the juice to a boil, then keep at a rolling simmer for about 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally (increasing the frequency near the end) while it reduces. Scum will start to rise to the top and this can be scooped off with a spoon.
Once the syrup has reduced to a consistency of runny honey, pour it into a sterilised jar.
This syrup is sweet, but only about half as sweet as cane sugar or honey so bear that in mind when substituting for sugar. Taste-wise, it has that hint of yacon taste at the end so it's not a syrup I would use to slather on my pancakes. It makes a great sweetener in dressings, smoothies, coffee and healthy baking.
If you've got no yacon but like a homemade syrup, why not try this apple syrup made only from apples!
Homemade Yacon Syrup
A homemade sweetner made from yacon that will help regulate your blood sugars.
- 4 kg yacon, diced
- Blitz up your yacon to a pulp, then pass through a sieve or cheesecloth to extract the juice. (alternatively use a juicer). Add to a large saucepan.
- Bring the juice to boil, on medium heat and keep it continuously simmering, stirring occasionally.
- Scum will rise to the top and you can scoop this off with a spoon. Keep a close eye on the syrup as it reduces.
- After about 3 hours the yacon juice should have reduced considerably. Increase the frequency of stirring now to avoid it burning.
- Once it is the consistency of runny honey, pour into a sterilised jar.
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g
Wendy parr says
Hi there. I've just found out about yacon and am very excited. Does it have a nice taste in baking? Would my kids detect it? I live in the bay of plenty and am very keen to get some plants to grow if you have extra of knows if someone who does? Thanks so much for sharing your recipe. Wendy
It doesn’t have much of a taste, just slightly caramely., I don’t think they’d notice the taste but id use it alongside other sweetners in baking for kids, cause excess yacon can cause digestive issues (gas) and you’d have to add quite a bit as it’s not as sweet as sugar or honey. Have a look on trademe for tubers! There are lots for sale there ☺️
Paul Newman says
I am now starting to process 45kg of Yacon from 36 plants, most will be syrup in 3 days time.
We use it to sweeten herbal coffee, home-made chocolate bars and treats, we don't eat lots of desserts but this syrup is used in any we make.
We also store several tubers to eat "fresh" through winter. And our bunnies love it and the leave... which incidentally can be brewed as a tea.
Inulin gives the "gas" and the sweetness it's the same as in Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchoke).
I don't find the flavour exciting but I do use it frequently to sweeten herbal coffee.
Once you start growing Yacon you can have them for life. In the UK I lift all the plants and take of the new growing tips, pot them up and plant out in April/May. Leave them to it. I never water unless dry for several weeks nor feed them.
I am starting to treat as a perennial and will grow in same bed every year, I may experiment with leaving on the grown but covering to protect from frosts... they are not as hardy as Sunchokes (I'm in Hardiness zone8b).
We have thought about selling some syrup because it's very expensive to buy and hard to find in the UK. But licensing standards would negate any profit at small scale.
Edel Heyer says
Hi there. I am in Melbourne, Australia, and have grown yacon now for 5 years. I don't make syrup, mainly I eat it fresh, just love it. Seeing Paul Newman's comment about treating it as a perennial and experimenting, last year I decided to leave one plant in the ground. I cut the stems down to about 3 -4 inches, but left the plant in the ground, then covered it up with a cardboard box to keep the frost off (we don't get heavy frost here). Early spring I removed the box when shoots appeared. This plant grew taller than others and also matured earlier. In the past, I had about 2 to 3 kg (5 to 6 pounds) of yacon per plant, but this "perennial" brought 13 kg (28 pounds). I was just stunned. So this year, I will dig some up to have a regular supply, but will also leave 3 plants in the ground.
Do you find any weight-loss benefits
Do you peel or not please? I'm also curious if you've ever tried making Yacon powder by chance? Thanks
I peel and then put through juicer. The juice I boil to make syrup and the pulp I dehydrate and make into powder. I use the powder in baking as a way of adding some hidden goodness.
Where do you buy the tubers?