How to Store Yacon


YaconTubers.jpgIn my article, Yummy Yacon, I indicate that you can store yacon for up to eight months. A reader recently wrote in saying he’s grown yacon for years, but he has trouble storing the tubers.

This is an interesting question because in my garden workshop in October, I served the ‘Marada’ variety of yacon, a violet-skinned, orange-fleshed yacon, from last year. Yacon are like dahlia tubers in that, under certain conditions, they wrinkle and soften (and then rot), so there seem to be mysterious temperatures and humidity levels at which they can either be lost or stored almost indefinitely (well, at least for one or two years).

The problem with yacon is that the sugars are not the same as, say, sweet potatoes, so the starch to sugar conversion, which is one problem with root storage, is very different. I have an old-fashioned cold pantry in my house, which I think keeps everything at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit; this temperature seems to work with my yacon, which are thrown loose into tubs. I get some that rot, of course, but I check every few weeks, so I cull them out. Plus, the small tubers are the first to go anyway, so I use them first in salads or other dishes.

I appreciate this reader’s question because yacon is rather new to North America. It’s well-known in South America for its low calories and its role in helping diabetics. Not only is storage of the crowns a problem (especially for the ‘Morada’ variety I like as opposed to the white-tubered ones — seems a little touch of frost helps with bud development), but storage of the tubers themselves is a separate issue. Sometimes they can be perfectly hard and crisp, then suddenly they turn.  I think cool storage conditions are critical. I suggest putting them down with potatoes in a root cellar (they won’t make the potatoes sprout — Inca farmers knew that), and seeing how they do. 

This is an excellent topic for input from other people growing and storing yacon. Shared experiences are extremely valuable, so please post a comment below if you have suggestions for the best ways to store yacon.

Photo by Scott Vlaun

11/30/2017 1:02:32 PM

hii, how moist is moist sand ? (the type of moist sand that manage to store tubers and crowns successfully for months ) i heard moisture can cause the tuber to deteriorate ? i place the tubers on news paper in order dry it a bit to increase sweetness, it ended up moisten the news paper.. and 2 days on moisted news paper, the surface contacted the moist news paper started to turn black.. i think moisture can cause the tuber to rot .. andrew

11/30/2017 1:02:30 PM

hii, these people below said lightly moist sand to store tubers (for food) and the crowns (for next year planting). one said in humid environment. what exactly is lightly moist sand ? how to achieve lightly moist sand ? how much RH% (relative humidity) is quite humid environment ? so confusing. i heard someone said put the tuber on window sill, never let it damp... else will rot. i just harvested my yellow meat yacon, i tried to dry it a bit so that the sweetness build up, but it just wet the news paper which i place under it.. and after 2 days, the end of the tuber (cut end) started to get watery and black.. and the surface area on the moist news paper also become black.. apparently if i leave it for one more days, all will rotted in. andrew

Jacques Hesen
9/2/2011 4:42:15 AM

First of all it is important to harvest the tubers without damages or breackages. We are still eating tubers from last year now (early september). The tubers I have stored in a wooden box and I have mixed the tubers with dry sand (used by masonry)in the basement, wich is frostfree and not so cold at all. Only we notice some tubers have a kind of porosity, this means the flesh does seem not as firm as when fresly harvested. About 15 % of the roots did develop rot, most likely because the roots had slight damages at the time of putting in storage. We are convinces that yacon tubers can be stored quite easily for up to one year (why would you want to store for a linger period of time??)

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