Botanical Name: Smallanthus sonchifolius Origin: Peru
Smallanthus sonchifolius is a member of the Asteraceae family and is found in the northern Andes Mountains. Yacon has tuberous roots that are reminiscent of potatoes and are enjoyed for their sweet flavor. Yacon root powder can be sprinkled on top of food or used in syrups, teas, and extracts.
The yacon root is native to Peru and South America and is a distant relative of the sunflower. Archeologists believe that the yacon probably originated in the high Andean region of Southern Peru. It is also thought to be one of the "lost crops" of the Incas, who were known to cultivate it and who considered it an important food crop. The fresh root is small and similar in appearance to a potato and is said to taste similar to a cross between celery and Granny Smith apples. The leaves are made into a tea, and the root is made into syrups and extracts. It may also be found in South America in slices or made into jellies or jams.
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