Yacon syrup comes from a tuberous plant indigenous to the South American Andes. Distantly related to the sunflower, and flavored somewhat like an apple, it is popular with the Andeans and others as a salad ingredient and, of course, in sweet treats. It actually looks quite a lot like a sweet potato or a yam. As a raw vegetable, the Incas valued it for its nutritional aspects as it is very high in fiber and thus quite filling.
What Are Some Benefits?
Vegans and vegetarians seeking to avoid refined sugars, maple syrup and honey appreciate Yacon syrup as it is wholly plant based. Rich in antioxidants and potassium, Yacon syrup recipes bring fortification to this specialized diet.
A couple of the benefits of Yacon syrup are better absorption of magnesium, which helps every body system function better, and tends to help bone density.
In addition to these, Yacon syrup contains an element called Fructooligosaccharide (FOS) and provides half the sweetness of sugar. It doesn’t promote a rise in blood sugar as the human body metabolizes this much differently than normal sugars. Yacon root is believed to have the highest levels of FOS of anything on the planet.
Since it is not metabolized as other sugars, is low in calories and has an extremely low Glycemic index position, Yacon syrup could prove to be a real boon to those living with diabetes. It doesn’t raise the blood sugar levels in the human body, takes quite a bit longer to break down into sugar in the system and does not contribute to the blood sugar spikes that wreck havoc with diabetics, insulin levels and even weight gain.
Another great benefit of Yacon syrup is that it acts as a probiotic. Prebiotics are essential to intestinal health as they foster healthy flora in the system. These flora help process the FOS with a byproduct that can help in preventing cholesterol synthesis in the liver. An additional result is an increase in insulin uptake in the tissues. It even speeds up the metabolism and assists in moderating food cravings. This ancient vegetable is showing great possibilities in aiding with diabetes, battling unhealthy cholesterol levels and a host of metabolic challenges. Further to this, it is a known appetite suppressant and assists people in eating less in a more healthy way.
Those who partake of Yacon syrup, either on its own or in a recipe, find that they feel satisfied after consuming it.
Taste And Cooking
Yacon syrup is somewhat reminiscent of the flavor of molasses, with a slight caramel undertone. Like molasses, it is dark and sticky and thick. It can be used much as one would use agave syrup, but without the health and production controversies.
Unlike the agave product, one might not want to use it Yacon syrup as a substitute in every recipe. With its distinctive flavor, it lends itself best to raw food recipes. Raw desserts or smoothies are particularly receptive to what Yacon syrup brings to the table. That said, as a tastier and healthier alternative to brown sugar or molasses in baking, Yacon syrup cannot be beat.
Sweet like honey, Yacon syrup can be used, measure for measure, as one would use honey in any recipe. One teaspoon will provide a mildly sweet overtone. Feel free to increase the amount to suit your tastes.
Here is a Yacon syrup recipe that can be used, measure for measure, as a substitute for brown sugar:
1 cup of xylitol
2 tablespoons of Yacon syrup
In your mixer, combine the two ingredients and mix until it resembles brown sugar. Use in recipes instead of brown sugar.