History of Yacon
Traditionally grown in the Andes Mountains at around 2000 meters above sea level, Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) has been used for centuries by the inhabitants of Peru. Ancient Incas used it for its nutritional properties. The first recorded reference of Yacon dates back to 1615 when it was included on a list of 55 native crops of the Andes.
How is it used?
While sometimes referred to as the Peruvian ground apple, Yacon is a distant relative of the sunflower. Reaching heights of 5-7’ tall, both the leaves and tubers are edible. Traditionally the leaves were made into tea while the tubers were sliced and eaten raw. The syrup, derived from the roots, is used as a replacement for common sugars.
What does it look and taste like?
Yacon is a thick, sticky syrup ranging in color from light amber to a darker brown. Pleasantly sweet, it is similar in taste to light molasses or real maple syrup.
How is the Syrup Made?
To make the syrup, the tuberous roots are harvested and carefully selected for processing. They are then washed, peeled and ground down or pressed selected for processing.
Is it Raw?
While many brands claim to have raw Yacon syrup, the temperatures reached during processing, especially the flash pasteurization process, make this claim impossible. For a product to be considered truly raw, it can never reach temperatures over 40–49°C/104-120°F. While every effort is made to maintain lower levels of heat during this process, Yacon syrup must be pasteurized before bottling.
They are then washed, peeled and ground down or pressed to extract the juice. After the juice is filtered, the moisture is dehydrated at temperatures between 40 – 70°C/104-156°F to produce the thick syrup. Once this process is complete, the syrup is flash pasteurized at temperatures between 80 and 100°C/176-212°F to minimize heat degradation.
Although the process is brief, it can reach temperatures up to 100°C/212°F. This means the product is NOT raw.