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3299Re: Yacon and Oka

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  • Staci
    Nov 1, 2008
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      Hi Peter thankyou

      i did mean OKA it's a red knobby tuber

      staci x



      --- In pfaf@yahoogroups.com, Peter Ellis <peter.ellis@...> wrote:
      >
      > The message <geeift+cn48@...>
      > from "Staci" <hippiesontour@...> contains these words:
      >
      > > Does anyone know how to prepare/ cook Yacon and Oka oh and
      chinese
      > > artichoke
      >
      > > staci x
      >
      > Hi Staci
      >
      > Do you mean Oka or Okra? Okra you top and tail and steam.
      >
      > As to Yacon, from seeds of change.com :
      >
      > How Sweet It Is…and Healthy too!
      > Fresh Yacon tubers are crisp and juicy with a delicate flavor
      > reminiscent of apple or melon and a surprising sweetness that
      increases
      > in storage. They can be eaten raw, (fresh or dried) steamed, baked,
      > roasted, or juiced. The somewhat bitter skin can be scrubbed off
      with a
      > stiff brush, peeled with a vegetable peeler, or removed after
      baking.
      > One of our favorite recipes is to simply chop the peeled tubers into
      > bite-size pieces and sauté them in a little butter until the sugar
      > begins to caramelize. Serve with mashed potatoes topped with fresh
      > parsley.
      >
      > While satisfyingly sweet and flavorful, Yacon remains low in
      calories.
      > This is due to the fact that the sugar contains high levels of
      > oligofructose (inulin), a form of sugar that is not metabolized
      readily
      > by the human body. For this reason, Yacon shows much promise as a
      food
      > for diabetics and as a base for a low calorie sweetener. Even a tea
      made
      > from dried Yacon leaves is purported to have the ability to level
      out
      > blood sugar levels. Research on the benefits of Yacon for diabetics
      is
      > being carried out in Argentina and Japan. Oligofructose is known to
      aid
      > digestion and promote beneficial bacteria in the colon, so it may
      also
      > help prevent colon cancer. High in fiber, low in fat, and rich in
      > oligofructose, Yacon is considered by many to be a superfood of the
      > future.
      >
      > A Commercial Future?
      > After a failed attempt at industrial scale cultivation and
      > commercialization in Southern Europe in the 1930's, Yacon is now
      > emerging as a commercial crop in South America as well as in New
      > Zealand, Japan and Korea. The tubers are now commonly found in
      markets
      > in Lima and is even available peeled and sliced in supermarkets
      there.
      > One Peruvian company is exporting tins of chunked Yacon to Japan
      where
      > it is added to yogurt. In another commercial initiative, a group of
      > rural farmers from Oxapampa, Peru, working with Scientists from the
      > Andean Roots and Tubers project at the Lima-based International
      Potato
      > Center have developed a process for creating a syrup from Yacon
      tubers
      > that can be added to other products as a healthy, low calorie
      sweetener.
      > While still in its nascent stages, commercial Yacon production will
      > likely increase as refinements in plant breeding and production take
      > place.
      >
      > Vigorous Plants are Easy To Grow
      > A distant relative of the Sunflower, Yacon seems to thrive just
      about
      > anywhere with consistent moisture and moderate sun and reasonable
      soil
      > fertility. The plants can reach 5-7 feet tall and have a stunning
      > presence in the garden, although they will rarely flower except in
      areas
      > with growing seasons of 6 months or more.
      >
      > Rather than starting from seed, which is evidently quite difficult,
      we
      > propagate Yacon plants from dividing the "crown", a ginger-like root
      > structure from which the edible tubers emanate. This is done much
      in the
      > same way that potatoes can be divided, with each new sprout emerging
      > from an "eye." The crown divisions are generally planted in a
      growing
      > medium in a 4-6 inch pot 2-3 months before the last frost date. The
      > resulting plants are hardened off and transplanted only after the
      soil
      > warms and all danger of frost has passed. Allow at least a 3 foot
      > diameter space for each plant to grow into. We have found that a
      deep
      > mulch, applied once the plants are established and the soil has
      warmed,
      > eliminates most weeding and watering and will protect the tubers
      from
      > freezing in the fall. In warmer areas, we understand that Yacon,
      also a
      > relative of the Dahlia, can be grown as a perennial, with the crowns
      > simply left in the ground after the tubers are dug. If anyone has
      any
      > experience with this we'd love to hear from you.
      >
      > Pests Are Not a Problem…Mostly
      > We have grown Yacon for the last few years from Maine to New Mexico
      and
      > Oregon. So far, the fuzzy broad-leaved plants seem fairly
      impervious to
      > insect pests except for the occasional voracious grasshopper. We
      haven't
      > noticed any disease affecting the plants. The only serious pest
      pressure
      > we've seen is from below. In Oregon we've actually witnessed an
      entire
      > plant being dragged into the earth by Yacon-crazed gophers. In New
      > Mexico we've seen tubers eaten to the point where the plants have
      > withered and died. If you have subterranean pests you might try
      lining
      > your bed with chicken wire at least 16 inches below the surface.
      > Spreading the plants throughout the garden can confuse the gophers
      and
      > prevent the rapid decimation of your entire crop before you know
      what
      > hit it.
      >
      > Reap the Harvest
      > We generally wait for the plants to wither from the first hard frost
      > before harvesting the tubers and crowns, although I've never been
      able
      > to resist sneaking out a tuber or two for a pre-harvest appetizer.
      > Friends are always amazed when I reach into the ground and emerge
      with a
      > crispy tuber that is quickly peeled and consumed to everyone's
      delight.
      > The tubers and crowns can also be left in the ground for months
      before
      > harvesting, as long as they are protected from freezing. The tubers
      seem
      > to become sweeter with storage. We've harvested Yacon as late as
      > mid-December in Maine from under a thick layer of straw and snow.
      >
      > Try to be a gentle as possible when harvesting your crop as the
      fresh
      > tubers are quite brittle and thin-skinned. We use a digging fork to
      > gently loosen the soil under and around the tubers before lifting
      the
      > entire root system from the ground. The tubers are then snapped from
      > crown. Once harvested, the tubers should be stored in a cool dark
      place
      > much like potatoes. Even after they've begun to shrivel, they'll
      still
      > retain their sweetness and will be wonderful roasted and peeled.
      Fresh
      > Yacon can also be sliced and dried for extended storage, but it
      might be
      > advantageous to allow them to "ripen" before drying. Crowns can be
      > packed in moist peat, sawdust, or coir fiber and stored in a cool
      place
      > for propagation in the Spring.
      >
      > Cheers
      >
      > Peter
      >
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