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Yacon Pear of the Earth

By Jenna Haden
If you have grown every vegetable and are just looking for something new or are looking for something exciting to brag about to your friends then the yacon or pear of the earth is the plant you’ve been looking for! The yacon is a tuberous vegetable that is very easy to grow. It is drought tolerant, so if watering your plants in the heat of the summer isn’t for you, you’ll love this. In fact in a severe drought it will lie

Yacon

dormant til the moisture returns. Yacon is in the sunflower family so on top of being easy to grow and delicious, you’ll  get flowers.The flowers are small, yet beautiful. This is a fall harvest vegetable so when all the flowers and leaves die back it’s time to harvest. There are two types of tubers, small red ones close to the surface and large brown ones underneath. The red ones are edible but are typically reserved for next year’s crop (store in cool dark place til spring), the brown ones are for you to enjoy! The taste is unlike any vegetable you’ve ever tried, it is more like a fruit, being sweet tasting like watermelon, pear, and crunchy like a apple. Grow yacon in full sun. Oh did I mention it is Pest free! The only way to mess up growing this wonderful plant is to over water. When you’re ready to eat your yacon you can enjoy it right away or let sit in a dark place to get even sweeter. Slice fresh and toss into fruit salad or try recipe below.

Height:
4-6 ft.
Spacing:
24-36 in.
Hardiness:
USDA Zone 7b-11
Yacon and blue cheese salad

It’s not easy to improve upon the famously fabulous combination of walnuts and blue cheese but the addition of yacon, with its succulent sweet crunch, really lightens and freshens this deliciously different lunch.
Serves 4 as a starter
Small handful of shelled walnuts or pecans
Juice of 1 lemon
1 medium-large yacon
Handful of salad leaves
180g blue cheese, such as Dorset blue vinney, roquefort or gorgonzola
For the dressing:
1 tbsp apple balsamic vinegar
Pinch of flaky sea salt
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the walnuts or pecans out onto a baking tray and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes, shaking halfway through, until lightly coloured – keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t burn.
Fill a bowl with water and add the lemon juice. Peel the yacon, cut into slices and toss into the lemony water to prevent them from discolouring.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar with the salt before adding the olive oil a little at a time, whisking all the while until smooth. In a bowl, lightly dress the salad leaves in a little of the dressing and divide between 4 plates.
Arrange the sliced yacon on top, crumble over the blue cheese, then trickle over the rest of the dressing. Scatter the nuts over the top and serve immediately.
Come to Maas to get this awesome pest free, drought tolerant, and delicious vegetable!