Yacon: A plant you can root for!

Tired of getting the highs and lows of refined sugar after indulging in a chocolatey treat?Here at Mr Popple’s Chocolate, we’re very particular about the ingredients we work with. Yacon syrup is one ingredient that we LOVE working with! The super low Gi Yacon plant is a healthier sweetener alternative that benefits your body AND is a delight on your taste buds!

What is Yacon?

Yacon is a type of Daisy that grows in the Andes in South America. Its roots are tuberous and edible. And these are the parts of the plant that are eaten by the South American people, often raw in a type of fruit salad!

The Yacon root looks like a sweet potato, and the juice out of the root is drained out to make delicious syrup. The yacon’s tubers are a whitish yellow colour. They have a special taste that’s refreshing and often compared to a mix of  apple, watermelon, and celery. Though it may look like a sweet potato, unlike the common root vegetable, yacon is usually eaten raw and has no scratch in it. 

It is a low-calorie, high fibre and high-potassium source that can help regulate blood sugar levels. Yacon syrup is made from yacon roots and has been used as a natural sweetener for centuries in South America. The yacon plant’s long history of use as an important food crop makes yacon more than just a “trendy” new discovery.

Yacon is an important food crop because it contains zero net carbs, increases good gut bacteria, and can help regulate blood sugar levels.  

It is yacon syrup that we use to sweeten our delicious raw cacao chocolate!

Low GI & other benefits:

Yacon Syrup has a very low Glycaemic Index (GI). To put this in an easier way, regular white sugar has a GI of 65. This is quite high considering the scale is 1-100! On the other hand, Yacon Syrup has a GI of only 1! Making it a better alternative for people who are concerned about their blood sugar levels. Because our chocolate is sweetened using lower GI sweeteners, it is a great choice for diabetics or health conscious consumers!

Yacon syrup has prebiotic properties, meaning it helps to maintain a healthy gut.

Sciencey Bit:

In a study recently undertaken, an enzyme solution of yacon was determined to be a better antioxidant than enzyme solutions of potato, mushroom, eggplant and edible burdock. In a study by Genta et al., it was proven that a daily intake of yacon syrup produced a significant decrease in body weight, waist circumference and body mass index when given to obese pre-menopausal women.

The History:

Yacon really is a plant you can root for! It’s tasty and nutritious, too. This ancient Andean food has been around since before the Incas. Yacon grows in all parts of Peru but is most commonly found on the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains between San Juan Province and Cusco. In fact, it is said that yacon was one of many foods that sustained Manco Capac, his mother Mama Ocllo, and their followers during their legendary journey from Lake Titicaca to establish the city-state of Cuzco. We’re talking about the journey that established the Incan Empire! Pretty cool eh?

Yacon wasn’t very well known outside of it’s native regions; Peru. Columbia and Argentina. However, since it’s amazing health benefits and ingenious taste has been recognised and uncovered outside of the Americas, it’s popularity has grown.

Since the world has been enlightened to this remarkable root, it is grown in Australia and New Zealand too! It is still enjoyed thoroughly in South America, but is now a new favourite in places like Japan, Korea and even the United States. Yacon is finally getting the recognition it deserves.

Fun Facts! 

  • Yacon has been used for medicinal purposes in South America for hundreds of years.
  • It is locally referred to as the ‘Peruvian ground apple’ in the areas it grows. 
  • Yacon is grown occasionally along field borders, the juicy tubers provide a welcome source of refreshment for the people who are hard at work in the fields!

Try our yacon sweetened raw chocolate bars at mrpoppleschocolate.co.uk